The Tale of Despereaux

The Tale of Despereaux

by

Kate DiCamillo

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The Tale of Despereaux: Chapter 35 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Despereaux is sitting on a bag of flour in the pantry, wondering what he’s going to do without his tail. He’s crying because of the pain, but also because he’s happy he escaped the dungeon. Now, he has a chance to save the Princess Pea from Chiaroscuro’s terrible plan. Despereaux is so exhausted and full of emotions that he sobs for a while and then falls fast asleep.
Just as goodness and evil coexist most places in the castle, Despereaux is experiencing a flood of positive and negative emotions all at once. This is overwhelming, but he remains somewhat focused because now he knows he has a purpose: saving the Pea from Roscuro.
Themes
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
The sun sets, and Despereaux dreams about stained-glass windows and the dungeon. The light suddenly comes to life and becomes the knight, which fights with the dark. The dark takes many forms, including Antoinette, Lester, Furlough, and Roscuro. Despereaux tosses in his sleep, asks the knight who he is, and asks if the knight will save Despereaux. The knight says that Despereaux knows him and removes his helmet. There’s nobody inside; the armor is empty. In his sleep, Despereaux sobs that there’s no knight in shining armor. It’s all pretend, just like “happily ever after.”
Despereaux’s dream crystallizes many of the novel’s main ideas—light and dark, good and evil, are constantly in conflict. And even people whom one loves, such as one’s parents, can be good and supportive as well as cruel. Then, this dream also leads Despereaux to become disillusioned. Learning that the armor is empty suggests there is no great force for good, fighting back evil—it’s naïve, Despereaux starts to believe, that he can count on such a thing.
Themes
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Principles, Courage, and Growing Up Theme Icon
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