Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
How we cite our quotes:
"As it turned out, the uncertainty itself was the worst suffering we had to undergo." (15.45)
Given that the rats also endured months of captivity and being kidnapped, this is a pretty big statement. It also makes a lot of sense though: for the rats, not knowing what the scientists have planned for them means that they have zero control over their own lives.
"He placed the cage in a slot against a wall, slid open the end, opened a matching door in the wall—and I was free.
"Or so I thought." (16.3-4)
As if it isn't bad enough to be trapped in a cage, now the scientists are dangling freedom in Nicodemus's face, only to snatch it away just as quickly. Treatment like this will do things to a rat… like make him want to escape.
"Yet I was in a frenzy to reach that open lawn, to run for the bushes, to get away from the cage… No use." (16.6)
Nicodemus could have given up on his freedom and been content with his comfortable life behind bars. Instead though, having freedom so near to his reach only makes him more determined to reach out and grab it.