The Light and the Dark in Despereaux by Mrs Kynigou

Has anyone else been noticing how much light and dark appears in our story?
From the dark of the dungeon to the brightness of the banqueting hall, light and dark keep on appearing throughout the story.

Can you help me find examples? If so add them in a comment.
Be sure to read the posted comments carefully so you do not repeat something that has already been mentioned!

18 thoughts on “The Light and the Dark in Despereaux by Mrs Kynigou

  1. Dear Mrs.Kynigou,
    My example of dark is when after the queen dies the king’s heart feels dark because he misses his wife. Some examples of how you know he’s feeling sad is he ordered that all of the rats should be killed because of Roscuro falling into the queen’s soup and making her die.
    Another reason is that the king outlawed soup because the queen died while eating soup.

  2. Dear Ms.Kynigou,
    I have seen the light in the book Despereaux. I will tell you one place! I saw it when the gailor lit up a match to talk to Roscuro. That is where I saw light in the book. Can’t wait till you put another question on the blog!

    Ellie T

  3. When Roscuro started chewing on Gregory the Jailer’s rope Gregory picked him up and held him by tail. Then he lit a match and held it right in front of his face. That was the first time Roscuro saw light and he really wanted to see it again.
    (Page 86 and 67)

  4. Roscuro could symbolize the dark because even though he loved the light, He still wanted revenge on the Pea for staring at him and calling him Rat in a way that made him realized that he didn’t belong in the light.Also, when he realized that the prisoner’s tablecloth wouldn’t make happy, he didn’t return it.Despereaux is another case. he symbolizes the light in a way that no other character does except the princess Pea. She “is” light, as it said on page 104-105 the author writes that every time she laughed ,everything seemed to glow brighter. Despereaux is in a way, just plain good. he is different from most mice but is still a mouse.He loves the light, probably almost, or as much, as Roscuro.

  5. Light when Forlough was saying look right then left don’t stop for anything Desperaux was looking at the castles stained glass window and dark when Desperaux when to the dungeon and when Forlough saw Desperaux was revealed to the princess Pea it was like Desperaux was full of darkness

  6. Dear Mrs. Kynigou,
    I completely agree that the book is full of passages that associate light with innocent (mice) and dark with evil (rats).
    Chiaroscuro (though being a rat) represents light and dark, because in Italian “chiaro” means light, and “scuro” means dark. He is born in the darkness and filth of the dungeon, but get’s addicted to light as soon as a match is lit against his face.
    “Light,” he said aloud. And then he whispered the word again. “Light.”
    From that moment forward, Roscuro showed an abnormal, inordinate interest in illumination of all sorts. He was always, in the darkness of the dungeon, on the lookout for light, the smallest glimmer, the tiniest shimmer. His rat soul longed inexplicably for; he began to think that light was the only thing that gave life meaning, and he despaired that there was so little of to be had. (pg 88)
    As a rat Roscuro should prefer the darkness, but for him it is light that gives meaning in life. His “friend” Botticelli loves the darkness and suffering and persuades Roscuro to act like a rat and make beings suffer.
    “You my friend are a rat. Exactly. Yes. Evil. Prisoners. Rats. Suffering. It all fits together so neatly, so sweetly. Oh it is a lovely world, a lovely, dark world. (pg 91)
    Roscuro, though, continues craving for light, but when he gets heartbroken from the princess’ disgusted look, he retreats into the darkness and vows revenge after stealing the queen’s shiny royal soupspoon. From now on Roscuro’s broken heart doesn’t allow him to appreciate light the same way as before and Roscuro decides to reside in the darkness:
    “If you want me,” muttered Roscuro as he left the banquet hall, “I’ll be in the dungeon, in the darkness.” (pg 116)
    Anna B.

  7. Dear Miss Kynigou ,

    At the book it said that the princess pea was a” light “. Also there was light upstairs when Roscuro went there.Moreover when Roscuro went to the new prisoner the prisoner lit a match .Well the dungeon was dark and the rats that live in the dungeon and have a dark heart.But I found one that has both light and dark…… Chiaroscuro that means a “mixture” of light and dark together.”


  8. Dear Mrs.Kynigou,
    I saw light when Gregory the jailor lit a match in Roscuro’s face.I also found light in the castles hallways while Roscuro was exploring the castle, I found darkness in the dungeon with all the rats.Another one for darkness is when the prisoner gives his daughter for a handful of cigarettes,and for a red cloth.

  9. Dear Mrs Kynigou,

    At the book Despereaux I saw dark when Despereaux fainted.
    He can see light but when he faints he can only see a black screen.
    When he comes to he can see light again.
    That is what I think for the ” Light and dark” example.
    – Anna K.

  10. Dear Ms. Kynigou,
    The author of Despereaux, Kate DiCamillo, is a great author and I have read many of her books. It is very interesting, her view of the world.
    Every little detail means something, and the definition of light and dark, as this prompt makes us think about, may be interpreted in many different ways.
    Rats, evil dark creatures, may still be light.
    Mice, light loving and timid, may be inexplicably dark and cruel, such as Furlough, who never thought of anyone but himself: HIS needs, HIS feelings. (Although, if you think about it, Furlough didn’t really have feelings).
    There are many different perspectives that Kate DiCamillo tries to capture and make the reader wonder, or SPECULATE about.
    One example of light is when Chairoscuro, or Roscuro, after living in the dark, damp dungeon all of his life, is captured and enthralled in wonder and awe when the dungeon doors are flung open and vast quantities of lovely, fantastically wonderful light, came seeping in, pouring in, and hypnotizing the onlooker, Roscuro, as though Bottocelli is swinging his locket. But, this time, it is much more powerful. Roscuro, though, can’t take his eyes off of the wonderful sight, not caring how much he was showing PERFIDY to Bottocelli’s worthwhile teachings on how to be a normal mouse, and not care the slightest bit about light.
    Another good example of when they show light is when Despereaux is being ‘educated’ on how to be a mouse. His sister Merlot takes him around the castle, scavenging for food, and they end up in the enormous castle library. Merlot instructs him on how to quietly nibble paper and chew tough, dried glue. However, Despereaux doesn’t listen to her and stares dreamily up at the warm, comforting light streaming through the vast windows.
    One reason of how the author, Kate DiCamillo, mentions dark is when Despereaux, poor, abnormal, hated Despereaux, is flung into the dark, dank dungeon and cannot see a single thing. When he puts up his paw to his face, he only sees blackness, deep, evil blackness, lurking with rats, biding their times until they swallow the innocent, desperate unexperienced mouse. For rats, well, rats are . . . evil. (Scary noises in the background: Dun, Dun, Duuun!) Does anyone else notice the different perspectives of the characters in this captivating book?
    Anyway, thanks for reading this comment, and I hope that we have some good conversations going on in the blog after this interesting prompt!
    Good job everyone!
    ~Maggie D. πŸ˜€

  11. Dear Ms.Kynigou I have seen how much the light has been mentioned in the book. One example is that in the book on Chapter Sixteen it sais that rats do not car for light and I understand why. They do not care for the light because they have been born in the dark and they don’t know how it is to live in the light.(pg.85)

  12. Dear Ms.Kynigou,
    Despereaux sees light, as it shone through a window, then into a whole, when he is born in the castle one day. He sees dark as he is sent to the dungeon after misbehaving.
    Ann-Marie #3

  13. Dear Ms.Kynigou,
    In the book Despereaux I have seen l have seen light and dark many times. Here is one example: Hanging from one paw, he swung back and forth, admiring the spectacle below him: the smell of the food, the sound of music,and the light, the light, the light.

  14. Dear Ms.Kynigou,
    One part in the story that shows light is when Despereaux tells Gregory the jailer his story and Gregory says that the reason he didn’t give him to the rats is because “light is precious in a world as dark as this, and that Despereaux can tell a story that is as precious as light”.

  15. Dear Ms.Kinygou,

    One time in the story that showed light in the book is when Gregory the jailer saved Despereaux from the rats. The reason Gregory saved Despereaux from the rats is because ” you, mouse, can tell Gregory a story. Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark. Begin at the beginning. Tell Gregory a story. Make some light.” (this was taken right from the book – page 81).

    Live #11 πŸ˜€

  16. Dear Ms. Kinygou,
    Roscuro has faced light and dark in many parts of the book! The first time he experienced light in the dark of the dungeon is when he bit into Gregory’s (the jailor)rope and Gregory lit a mach. After that he was really obsessed to see more light! Soon after that he saw light under the dungeon’s door. That made him place a thought in his mind, that encouraged him to go to the real world above the dungeon! But his thought didn’t go so well. He experienced light in his trip upstairs, but he made the Queen lose her life. That made Roscuro have an enemy,the princess Pea!
    Roscuro has seen lots of dark and light! He should have some connection to Despereaux who was born in the light at the same time Roscuro left the dungeon.
    Later in life Despereaux will meet Roscuro when Despereaux is taken to the dungeon. My conclusion is that both of them have seen dark and light!

    Ellie m πŸ™‚

  17. Dear Ms. kinygou,

    One time in the story that showed light & dark is when Despereaux is lead to the dungeon, it said They passed pools of light and spots of darkness.

    Eleonora πŸ˜€

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