The Tale of Despereaux

The Tale of Despereaux

by

Kate DiCamillo

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Tale of Despereaux can help.

The Tale of Despereaux: Chapter 24 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Once again, the story must move backward before it can go forward. Miggery Sow is born years before either Chiaroscuro or Despereaux. She’s born far away from the castle and is named after her father’s favorite prizewinning pig. When she’s six years old, Mig’s mother dies. Though Mig asks her mother to stay, her mother says that it doesn’t matter what Mig wants, and she promptly dies. Soon after, Mig’s father sells her into service for a red tablecloth, a hen, and cigarettes. He didn’t look back when she said she didn’t want to go with the man—he just said nobody asked her what she wants and walks away. As readers already know, he didn’t look back.
From the very beginning, Mig has no power to dictate what she wants—and she has nobody to care for her. The implication here is that the prisoner Roscuro tortured is her father. It creates some dramatic irony that readers know that, in the novel’s present, he regrets not looking back at his daughter—but this information, which could be comforting, is totally inaccessible to Mig. That Mig has lost her mother also shows that she has something in common with the Pea, despite their very different statuses.
Themes
Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Principles, Courage, and Growing Up Theme Icon
The narrator asks readers to imagine themselves in Mig’s position, being sold by their fathers—hopefully the thought makes the hairs on the back of the reader’s neck stand up. What will happen to Mig? It’s the reader’s duty to keep reading and find out.
This exercise suggests that Mig is someone worthy of empathy; she’s worth caring about and investing in emotionally. Continuing to read and, hopefully, discovering what happens to her is a way for readers to show this character respect.
Themes
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon