The Whipping Boy Literary Elements

The Whipping Boy Literary Elements


Children's Fiction

Setting and Context

London, 18th Century

Narrator and Point of View

Third person narrator telling the story from Jemmy's point of view

Tone and Mood

Adventurous, tense

Protagonist and Antagonist

Jemmy is the protagonist, Prince Brat the antagonist at the start of the book. As the novel progresses the two boys are the protagonists and the scoundrels Cuttwater and Hold-Your-Nose-Billy are the antagonists

Major Conflict

There is conflict between Jemmy and Prince Brat when they first leave the castle because Jemmy has devised an escape plan and wants the Prince to go back to the castle so that Jemmy can be free of his servitude as whipping boy


When they return to the castle Prince Brat has freed Jemmy from his role as whipping boy and has installed him in the much happier position of Royal Best Friend


The performing poet at the fair recites a poem about the two scoundrels searching for Jemmy and the Prince which foreshadows the fact that the two boys are once again in danger of being caught


Jemmy feels that the concept of whipping boys is very unfair which totally understates a practice which is essentially abusive


The scoundrels make allusions to the royal court as they pretend to prance around in their imaginary finery


The author paints a very realistic picture of the fair that includes sounds and smells as well as a visual description that not only tells the reader what the fair actually is and what goes on there but also what it sounds like and how it smells giving the reader the feeling of being there


The Prince is excited because he is getting to do manual jobs like carrying a jug of milk which he is usually not allowed to do. Jemmy cannot understand how anyone could possibly feel like they are missing out on something because they are waited in and not expected to do anything for themselves


There is a parallel between the stoic refusal to cry when beaten shown by Jemmy and the determination to emulate this shown by Prince Brat

Metonymy and Synecdoche

The castle will have Jemmy's head means that the King will decree his punishment


Petunia the bear is personified as he helps to get the coach out of the mud, when in reality he would not be able to participate in a concerted effort with a goal in mind

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