The Tale of Despereaux

The Tale of Despereaux

by

Kate DiCamillo

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The Tale of Despereaux: Chapter 29 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
On Mig’s first day as a castle servant, the head of the serving staff, Louise, sends her to deliver a spool of red thread to the princess. Louise reminds Mig to curtsy to the princess in a shout. All the way up the stairs, Mig talks to herself and decides she must “cursy” to the princess first, and then hand over the thread. She knocks on the princess’s door, but she doesn’t hear the Princess Pea respond. Finally, the Pea flings her door open wide and asks if Mig has her thread. In a shout, Mig says she must “cursy” first. She picks up her skirts, drops the thread, steps on the spool, and after a minute of wobbling, falls. The Pea laughs and shouts that it’s the spirit that counts.
Already, it’s becoming clear that Mig will struggle as a servant: her hearing means that she annoys people like the princess, and she’s also clumsy. However, the Pea shows how generous and sympathetic she is when she doesn’t get upset with Mig for falling in her curtsy. The Pea’s kindness toward Mig mirrors the kindness she showed Despereaux. She’s willing and able to treat those with much less power than she has with respect, generosity, and good humor.
Themes
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Principles, Courage, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Mig stands, searches the floor for the thread, and gives it to the Pea. The Pea thanks Mig—she can never keep track of her red thread. She then shows Mig what she’s making: a tapestry depicting her history. She points out King Phillip playing the guitar and the queen eating soup. Mig observes that soup is against the law, and the Pea says this is because her mother died while eating soup a month ago. Mig shares that her mother is dead too. The girls introduce themselves. Mig shares that she met the princess once before, but she only waved once the princess was past. When she shares she’s going to be a princess one day, Pea gives Mig a meaningful look.
Readers may infer that the Pea keeps losing her red thread because the mice keep stealing it—but as a person who has little or nothing to do with the mice, the Pea doesn’t know this. The Pea and Mig, meanwhile, realize that despite their many differences, they have a lot in common. They’ve both lost their mothers, and this seems to cause the Pea, at least, to feel empathy for Mig. She also doesn’t crush Mig’s dream of being a princess outright, something that allows Mig to keep dreaming—and keep feeling happy.
Themes
Conformity Theme Icon
Back in the servants’ quarters, Louise tells Mig it took her too long to deliver the thread. She hits Mig in the ear and says Mig won’t be a great servant. Mig responds that that’s fine, because she’s going to be a princess.
Again, the Pea’s kindness has a huge effect on Mig. Mig wants to be wealthy and beautiful, but after seeing how nice the princess is, being a princess also starts to mean that Mig would be able to escape cruelty and violence.
Themes
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Principles, Courage, and Growing Up Theme Icon