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File:TheTaleofDespereauxMovie.jpg


A Newberry Award winning Fantasy book for children written by Kate DiCamillo. The book itself is split into four separate stories: "A Mouse Is Born," "Chiaroscuro," "Gor! The Tale of Miggery Sow," and "Recalled to the Light." The first three introduce the three threads of the plot and then they are all brought together in the final story.

  1. A Mouse Is Born: The story's protagonist is Despereaux, the only survivor of his litter. He was born with open eyes, huge ears, and no fear. When his father takes him to the library to eat books, he ends up reading a fairy tale about a knight and princess, instead.
  2. Chiaroscuro: A rat born innocent among the evil rats of the dungeon. An encounter with a jailer led to his whiskers being singed off. This event led to his desire for light and goodness, eventually leading him to leave the dungeons and explore the world above. Unfortunately, after some misunderstandings he's effectively banished back to the dungeon and for this he craves revenge.
  3. Gor! The Tale of Miggery Sow: Mig was sold into slavery at a young age for some cigarettes, a hen, and a red tablecloth. The man she called "uncle" beat her about the ears until she was nearly deaf. A chance encounter with Princess Pea led to her desire to become a princess.
  4. Recalled to the Light: Here things come to a head, as Chiaroscuro manipulates the mentally unstable Mig into doing his bidding and Despereaux is able to come into his own as the hero of his very own fairy tale.

The books were adapted to a CG animated film in 2008, which Disneyfied many of the darker elements while still keeping much of the original fairy tale feel of the book.


Tropes found in the book:


Tropes found only in the film:

  • Blind Seer: After Despereaux is exiled for the crime of consorting with humans, he meets the blind mouse Hovil, whose eyes are pearly white. Hovil is charged, among other tasks, with overseeing the gateway into the darkened sewers beneath the dungeon. Early on, he is the only mouse who seems sympathetic to Despereaux's curiosity and fearlessness. It appears to the viewer that Hovis lowers criminals into the sewers using a thread whose color corresponds to their crime. For Despereaux, convicted of courage, the thread is red.

 Despereaux: Red?

Hovil: Ah, so they tell me. You're the brave one?

Despereaux: I guess.

Hovil: Wear it proudly. There's no shame.

 Hovis: Courage, right?

Despereaux: And truth. And honor.

Hovis: Good. But especially courage.

Despereaux: I'm ready.

 Narrator: First of all, rats hate the light. They spend their lives in the darkness. (A rat is shown looking right at the sun.)

Narrator: They're also terrified of people, which is why they slink and cower all the time. (The rat walks right up to a human.)

Narrator: And as far as telling the truth as concerned, well, that is impossible, because as everyone knows, a rat can't talk. (The rat begins speaking to the human.)

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