Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Animals in Literature

Mice and rats. Rats and mice. Whether pets or pests, they have been linked with humans, our culture and civilization, since the beginning of time. Wherever we have settled, mice and rats have soon settled with us. They've raided our larders, invaded our homes and been responsible for the largest mass death of humans in history by spreading the Black Plague. And yet many of us find rats, and especially mice, cute, clever and interesting.

In Robert C. O'Brien's book, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, mice and rats work together to save their homes and lives from humans. The rats are escaped lab animals whose time in captivity has given them wisdom and longevity. Mrs. Frisby is a simple country mouse, living in the field of a farmer. The novel explores the dual-edged reality of rats and mice co-existing with humans. Food and supplies can be plentiful, but so can cats, traps and poisons.

In Daniel Schwabauer's novel, Runt the Brave, humans are not a factor, just a blueprint. Mr. Schwabauer's memorable characters have been wonderfully anthropomorphized (given human traits and characteristics) into generals, royalty, villains and one very small hero. Battle tactics, betrayal and bravery factor in as the mice of Tira Nor try desperately to defend themselves and their way of life from invading rat forces.

If you're a fan of mice and rats (or even if you're not), you'll want to give both these books a read.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great Job as always. What a talented mother I have. You know everything and work hard. Your blogs are always interesting to read! Thank you for your hard work.