Despereaux Tilling
From his birth, Despereaux is unlike the other mice in the castle. He is born with his eyes open, looking at the light—an early indication of his love for light and all that provides it, including music, stories, and love. Despereaux is also smaller than the other mice, with unusually large ears, and he is not expected to survive. But he does live; thus, from his very birth, Despereaux is an underdog who fights and succeeds against impossible odds.

As Despereaux grows older, his inability to fit in with the other mice only becomes more obvious. The other mice do not share Despereaux’s love for music and books, or his lack of interest in eating; worst of all, Despereaux goes against the most important mice rules when he approaches, speaks to, and even falls in love with a human. Once again, Despereaux is faced with insurmountable difficulties, as the entire mice community turns against him and sentences him to the dungeon. However, Despereaux’s refusal to conform ultimately saves him, just as his ability to tell a story convinces the jailer to rescue him.

Despereaux also proves to be a noble, brave, and magnanimous character. He manages to forgive his father, and after making it out of the dungeon, he returns of his own free will to rescue the princess. Once again, Despereaux is the underdog—a tiny mouse who weighs less than the spool of red thread he pushes through the castle, he nevertheless succeeds in rescuing Pea. Despereaux’s deep love for the princess, as well as his great determination and inner strength, allows him to overcome the many obstacles against him.

Roscuro the rat is a character in some ways similar to Despereaux, but who ultimately makes very different choices and meets a very different fate. Like Despereaux with the other mice, Roscuro does npt fit in with the other rats: while most rats abhor light, Roscuro is obsessed with light and convinced it gives life meaning. Like Despereaux, Roscuro takes a great leap unheard of for a member of his species—in Roscuro’s case, he heads upstairs into the world of light. Unfortunately, Roscuro’s journey...

(The entire section is 890 words.)