The Prince and the Pauper Questions and Answers
by Mark Twain

The Prince and the Pauper book cover
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How does the setting of Tom's real life compare with the setting in his dream in The Prince and the Pauper?

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While there are many sharp contrasts between Tom Canty's real life and the life he leads in his dreams, surprisingly there are some comparisons. 

Although Tom is abused, starved, and fairly miserable in his real life, he retreats into dreams where he lives "the charmed life of a petted prince in a regal place." One similarity between Tom's real and imaginary life is that he takes lessons in Latin and other subjects from a priest. Also, Father Andrew tells charming old tales and legends that are filled with giants, dwarfs, and fairies and genii. In these fairy tales, there are enchanted castles, handsome princes and kings. Such tales are similar to those which a child of royalty would listen.

Additionally, a strange change occurs in Tom after he has heard so many charming stories, and having read so much about royalty: he begins to speak and act as though he were princely. This behavior amuses the other residents of Offal Court, but after time the residents grow older and begin to perceive Tom as superior to themselves. Reacting to this perception, Tom begins to act even more like a prince, and his speech and manners take on the courtly and ceremonious gestures of one who is royalty. 

He seemed to know so much and he could do and say such marvelous things....

After some time, Tom's effect upon his fellow paupers increases, and they begin to perceive him with "a wondering awe" because he somehow seems to be their superior in knowledge. So impressed are these paupers that they tell their parents, who begin to talk among themselves about Tom Canty, and they, too, begin to regard Tom as a very extraordinary creature. Soon, even the adults begin to afford Tom respect and adulation because they are impressed with his wit and wisdom.

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