The Tale of Despereaux – Literature – Writing Style

First of all, the cover of the book illustrates a mouse without a tail, the main character of the book, followed by the title The Tale of Desperaux. The reader is not only introduced to a different looking protagonist but also to the author’s wordplay and humor. The reader is probably puzzled about the absence of the mouse’s tail and in the next moment the similar sounding word ‘tale’ appears.  This use of humor and flowery language is one of the main stylistic elements used in fairy tales. Kate DiCamillo use of a rather sophisticated writing style goes even a step beyond the traditionally ornate language of a fairy tale. And in order to help the young reader follow her prose, she has chosen a third person omniscient narrator. This narrator interacts with the reader throughout the whole book, gives advice, reflects and shows parallels. That is one of the reasons the writing style appears so lively and close to the reader. The reader easily understands reactions and decisions of the characters and builds sympathy to them. The bond is strengthened through the interplay between the themes light and dark of the tale. Cheerful and lighthearted sections are contrasted by thrilling fear and despair like in scenes of the banishment of Desperaux to the dungeon.  The reader is captivated and is eager to get to the end of the story. The tension is kept high through the change of perspective. The first book of the tale is centered to Desperaux, then the rat Roscuro is the main actor followed by Miggery Sow. Finally, all participants collide in the last book. This results in excitement to see how each character’s story will play out. Although the book is intended for children and teenagers, adolescents enjoy reading the book as well. There is no age limit for fairy tales: everybody loves escaping into a world full of magic and miracles.