Stuart Little Questions and Answers
by E. B. White

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What might be the primary and secondary themes in Stuart Little?

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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A primary theme of Stuart Little is the importance of optimism to the human (and mouse) spirit. Stuart has an enormous deck stacked against him as a tiny mouse in New York City and in trying to adapt to life in a human home, yet he is ever resourceful, cheerful, and optimistic. Although only a mouse, he exemplifies the triumph of the spirit over adversity. He becomes a symbol, in fact, of the undaunted human spirit. For example, the fact that he has to struggle with the simplest tasks doesn't make him bitter. Instead, he is determined to succeed, and his outsized spirit and loving attitude seems to more than balance his small size.

A secondary theme is the struggle of the outsider to adapt. No matter how hard he tries and how much love and acceptance he receives, Stuart can never truly overcome being a mouse in human society. He will never be human. He realizes how vulnerable he is in a big city like New York and recognizes that he will have to get into his car and travel north if he wants to be who he truly is. He knows, as he embarks on his journey, that, although an outsider, he is “headed in the right direction.”

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Edith Sykes eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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One of the primary themes presented in this book is accepting diversity.  Stuart Little is a mouse, in the book born into a human family who accepts him and makes adjustments for his smallness. There is an issue of the differences Stuart has compared to his human family.  These differences can become an obstable since George is a little disappointed by his brother who can't really be the playmate that he was expecting.  So George has to accept his brother for who he is and this is done through Stuart's remarkable personality.

Stuart is very courageous, he is not afraid to charge into difficult situations, like getting his mother's ring out of the drain.  He races a boat in Central Park, crawls inside the piano to fix the keys for his brother and decides to look for Margalo, setting out to find her without any thought for his own safety. 

Stuart can be viewed from the Little's perspective as a special child, and it is often said that special children born into a family may look different, act different, but are always a special gift.  Stuart symbolizes this because he is so extraordinary that it is easy to overlook the differences that he has with his human family.

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