The Tale of Despereaux

The Tale of Despereaux

by

Kate DiCamillo

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The Tale of Despereaux: Chapter 9 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The Mouse Council sends Furlough to fetch Despereaux. Furlough finds Despereaux reading the huge book in the library aloud to himself. He desperately wants to hear the last words of the story, “Happily ever after.” Mostly, Despereaux wants to know that his love for the Princess Pea will lead to good things—so reading the story feels like reading a magic spell that will make good things happen. From a little ways away, Furlough says to himself that this is exactly what he and the Mouse Council are concerned about—Despereaux is talking to the paper, which is just wrong.
For now, the story in the book gives Despereaux hope. He’s taking it as an example of what might happen—but notice at this point, he seems to be simply waiting and hoping for good things to happen, rather than actively working for what he wants. This seems to leave him vulnerable to Furlough and the other mice, who are willing to take action and punish Despereaux for stepping so far outside of mouse norms.
Themes
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Principles, Courage, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Conformity Theme Icon
Furlough finally calls for Despereaux. When Despereaux comes out of his trance enough to notice his brother, he says he’s busy and goes back to reading. Furlough shakes his head; clearly, he was right to turn Despereaux in. He crawls up next to his brother and says the Mouse Council wants Despereaux now, and Despereaux has no choice but to obey. Despereaux just asks if Furlough knows what love is. Furlough says love doesn’t matter at the moment, but Despereaux says that he loves someone and she loves him—that’s all that matters. That person is the Princess Pea. Furlough snaps that Despereaux is missing the whole point of being a mouse, and he must come. Sighing, Despereaux traces the words with a paw, whispers “I honor you” to the maiden in the book, and follows Furlough.
As far as Furlough is concerned, Despereaux is totally missing the point. He’s not being a proper mouse and is potentially putting all other mice in danger—and so it doesn’t matter that he’s in love, something that in other circumstances might be seen as a good thing. Despereaux naively seems unaware of how much danger he might be in. This may simply reflect his youth and his innocence, but it also likely shows that he trusts Furlough and doesn’t expect his brother (to say nothing of his father) to go out of his way to put him in danger or punish him.
Themes
Love, Forgiveness, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Principles, Courage, and Growing Up Theme Icon