Character Analysis Of Mr. Hundert In The Palace Thief

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This quote of humility and the truth of one’s insignificance in the sands of time is idolized by Mr. William Hundert, a teacher of St. Benedict’s School, in his teachings. The story “The Palace Thief” by Ethan Canin follows Mr. Hundert during his time as a teacher at this prestigious school, from the appearance of a rambunctious new student that disrupted the order of his class, to forty-one years later, at a reunion celebration. Mr. Hundert is a passionate and proud man when it comes to his teaching and history, but his character faults are what the story actually focuses on. The conflict of the “The Palace Thief” surrounds the events of a St. Benedict’s tradition; the “Mr. Julius Caesar” competition, a competition in which a young and charismatic new-student Sedgewick Bell becomes a competitor, an event that challenged and haunts Hundert for decades. Forty-one years, later, a much older Sedgewick Bell calls the retired teacher to host a reunion and re-do of the “Mr. Julius Caesar” competition that ends up mirroring the first, highlighting the central idea of Hundert not changing nor learning from the mistakes of the past. When Sedgewick Bell first entered his classroom, he quickly …show more content…

Julius Caesar” once again. Hundert finds Bell to be cheating once again, and the tie-breaker he used to test the younger man was the question “Who was Shutruk-Nahhunte?” (Canin page 194) a question Sedgewick failed to answer. After the competition, Sedgewick reveals the true purpose to hosting the reunion; to reveal and win sponsors for his campaign into a government office. After his big reveal, Hundert spends the rest of his time in isolation, avoiding Sedgewick until his time to leave, in which the younger man lets him depart with the words “And I see that you have not changed either” (Canin page

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