In The Prince and the Pauper for Chapters 23-24, what does Edward find strange as they walk to the jail?I just want the question answered!

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As Edward walks to the jail with Miles Hendon in Chapter 24, he finds that the people on the street greet the spectacle of his impending incarceration with "marvelous indifference".  No one seems to care that the king is there, let alone that he is going to jail, and Edward finds that very strange.

Of course, the people on the street have no idea that Edward is the king, which is why, when he is led away, they pay no attention.  Edward is used to pomp and circumstance following him wherever he goes, but the streets are virtually deserted at this moment, and the few people who are out are interested in their own affairs,

"anxious to accomplish their errands as quickly as possible and then snugly house themselves from the rising wind and the gathering twilight.  They (look) neither to the right nor to the left; they (pay) no attention to (the king's) party, they (do) not even seem to see them".

From all outward appearances, Edward is just another ragged urchin in the big city, but in his heart he is still a king.  It is hard for him to get used to the idea that others do not see him as he sees himself, and do not treat him with the respect that he feels he deserves (Chapter 24).

teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As noted above, Edward wonders if the "spectacle" of a king going jail had ever been met with such "marvelous indifference" before. Anticipating Auden's "Musee of the Beaux Art," Twain shows how ordinary people are so caught up in the business of their own lives that they do not much notice what is going on around them. However, since Edward is dressed in rags, nobody can possibly know he is a royal. The shock has more to do with Edward's self perception than with the crowds on the street. He knows he is an important person, and so cannot help but notice when he is treated as someone who does not matter.

Edward is getting an education unlike what most royals ever encounter. He is seeing life from below, from the point of view not only of an ordinary person but of one caught up in the criminal justice system. The justice system he encounters will no longer be theoretic to him: he has now experienced its ability to destroy people's lives. While surprising and harrowing, his time on the street can help, we hope, make him into a wiser and better king.

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The Prince and the Pauper

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