The Tale of Despereaux – Literature – Themes

‘Making the impossible possible’ is one of the messages most powerfully delivered by this book.

Desperaux, the hero of the story shows that absolutely everything is possible if you only believe in yourself. Not accepted by his own family and banned from the mouse community because of his uniqueness, he demonstrates the powerful impact of optimism.

Even the biggest struggles and obstacles can be overcome if you do not give up, remain hopeful and follow your path. Life is not about following the path of least resistance. It is about taking risks to follow your dream and not giving up on the face of adversity.

The choices we make define us. We can either embrace our uniqueness and see it as a strength and a source of pride, or we can live in self-denial and give up. Here we see DiCamillo use the motive of light and dark to highlight this choice: follow your dreams into the light or get lost in the darkness.

But let’s go back to the story and take a look at Kate DiCamillo’s three main characters. They are actually a bunch of outsiders who do not conform social expectations and are therefore banned or excluded from their community. So despite their different circumstances, they each share this commonality.

Especially for pre-teens and teenagers, it is essential that they are confronted with the theme of tolerance. Acceptance of uniqueness in themselves and others is a crucial part of their intra and interpersonal development. The fear of being labeled uncool or different can keep many from truly expressing themselves. And social ostracism and bullying are also the dangerous effects of intolerance.

Embracing your uniqueness and the uniqueness of others, not being afraid of being different – this message is clearly articulated through the three main characters of this book. Indeed, it is just this uniqueness which will help you to follow your own path to make the impossible possible.