What is a good thesis statement for "To a Mouse" by Robert Burns?

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jmj616's profile pic

jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

I would suggest the following:

In "To A Mouse," Robert Burns questions whether a human being is superior to a mouse.

In Stanza 1, Burns states that he, personally, has no intention of killing the mouse with his plough or with his "pattle," a small shovel:

I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murd'ring pattle!

In Stanza 2, Burns expresses his regret that the mouse has come to look upon humans as his enemy:

I'm truly sorry man's dominio
Has broken nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle
At me...

In Stanza 3, Burns admits that the mouse lives by thievery, which is normally considered immoral. Yet he excuses the mouse for stealing bits of food because it is the only way he can live:

What the? poor beastie, thou maun [must] live!

In the final paragraph, Burns considers an advantage that the mouse has over man. The mouse only concerns himself with the present, whereas a human regrets the past and fears the future:

I backward cast my e'e

On prospects drear!
An' forwar, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear.