What predicament does the mouse face in "To a Mouse" by Robert Burns?  In what way does he say it is more fortunate than man?

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Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In, "To a Mouse," by Robert Burns, the farmer's plow blade has just destroyed the mouse's "housie."  The mouse, seeing the bare fields and knowing winter was coming fast, was hiding away "beneath the blast," and the plowman accidentally plowed through his home.  Furthermore, because "man's dominion" has so encroached upon nature (according to the speaker's interpretation), the mouse ran away hastily.

The mouse is in a bad way, but the speaker sees one advantage the mouse has over him.  The mouse lives only in the present, says the speaker in the final stanza, while he, as a human, looks to the past and future, as well, and thus more often faces the truth that:

The best laid schemes o' mice an' men

Gang aft a-gley (go often awry),

An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,

For promised joy. (39-42)

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The mouse's predicament is that her home has just been turned over and destroyed by the speaker's plow and she has nowhere to go.  Winter is coming soon and her house is destroyed.

On the other hand, Burns says (at the end of the poem) she is lucky compared to people.  People get destroyed by fate too but unlike the mice, they are aware and can worry.  They can look back to the past and forward to the future and worry about both.  By contrast, the mouse can only worry about the present.