The Prince and the Pauper and The Theory of Mind

June 2, 2017

The last 25 chapters of The Reading Mastery V Textbook present an abridged version of The Prince and the Pauper. Since I don’t remember the original text, I am not sure how much more complicated or longer the original is. However, I don’t find the textbook version simple. It must be specially difficult for a person with autism.  The person whose ability to take into account how the perception of things varies from reality seems to be limited. It is difficult to explain trepidation Tom Canty and Edward Tudor had to feel while being thrust into each other life. It is even harder to make sense of other characters treating Tom as if he were Prince Edward and treating Edward Tudor as if he were the poor boy from Pudding Lane.

June 21, 2017

On June 16, Robert finished reading The Prince and the Pauper.  His dad accompanied him in this endeavor and later completed with him three pages of related worksheets.   I regret that I was too tired to read with Robert that last chapter because I wanted to see Robert  reaction to the ending.  However, reading this text was extremely challenging.  Maybe more challenging for me than for Robert.  First, I had difficult time reading the parts that related to cruel mistreatment of Edward and his companion, Miles Hendon.  I wasn’t sure if I should explain the cruelty of those times.  I felt very uneasy reading about betrayals, flogging, begging, and all kinds of punishments mentioned in the book. I felt even worse knowing that Robert is reading  as well.  What pictures were created in his mind?  What emotions were evoked? Would they stay with him or evaporate at the end of the chapter?

Over and over I kept remaining Robert that Tom Canty was treated like a king. The people in the palace believed that he was the king. Their beliefs were based on the way Tom  was dressed. At first Tom protested but since his denials didn’t work, he decided to pretend to be the king. So he began to act like one.   Edward, however, strongly and stubbornly kept behaving like Tudor, he was.   Although he was confronted by people’s beliefs that he was a poor boy from Pudding Lane, he refused to act like one.  Not only he didn’t beg and didn’t steal but he also made Miles Hendon a knight and, later,  an earl.  He would avoid  mockery and mistreatment if he pretended to be Tom Canty, or at least stopped demanding to be treated like royalty.  Yet, he constantly demanded to be recognized as a prince and then as a king. He didn’t adjust his behavior to match the  expectations of those who formed false beliefs of who he was based on his tattered clothes.

Those are not easy concepts to grasp.  I struggled with explaining the plot and struggled even more trying to figure out what Robert understood and HOW he understood it.

From the way, Robert answered questions in the worksheets, I should deduce that the complexities of the situations the boys put themselves in were not lost on him.  He answered correctly.  Still, I had doubts regarding Robert’s comprehension of the whole story.  After all, Robert cannot explain anything with full sentences,  The best I can count on are one word answers.

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