The Tale of Despereaux – Literature – Genre

The Tale of Desperaux is aware of its fairy tale genre since the adventure of the little mouse with obscenely large ears includes all stereotypical elements and qualities a fairy tale can ask for: special phrases such as ‘once upon a time’ and ‘lived happily ever after’, setting and characters as well as the involvement of royalty. These generic aspects are complemented by its teaching function as an allegorical fable. Many fables (such as Aesop’s Fables) use animals with human characteristics to better highlight certain strengths and foibles in order to illustrate a particular moral. Consequently, young learners begin are given the opportunity to examine their own behavior and beliefs and learn important life lessons.

What are some of the lessons that the reader learns? One lesson might be that words and stories can illuminate the darkness; they can sustain us and give us strength to achieve our dreams.

Through the use of intertextuality, the author not only connects her story to these two genres, she also maintains her motif of light and darkness. As a result, the reader can easily find a common thread running through the book.