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Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

by Robert C. O'Brien

Family Theme

Families come in all shapes and sizes, and in Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, they come covered in fur. Though messages about the family come up often in Rats, the messages are pretty consistent: family is really, really important and worth a sacrifice. But is there such a thing as taking too many risks for your family? Mrs. Frisby thinks not. What do you think?

Questions About Family

  1. Why do you think it is so important to show the animals having nice family relationships? What does it make you feel about them?
  2. Do you think the rats consider themselves a family?
  3. Why do you think there is not a lot of discussion of the rats' family lives?
  4. If you had to describe the relationship that Mrs. Frisby has with her children, what would you say?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Mrs. Frisby's willingness to put herself at risk to save Timothy tells us that, while her motivations are kind, they're not exactly well reasoned. Risking her life to save the life of Timothy only puts all her children's lives at risk. How does that math add up?

Mrs. Frisby's willingness to risk all for her family shows that she is just as brave as the rats. The rats are willing to risk all to be independent, because that's what they care about most. Similarly, Mrs. Frisby will risk everything for her children, because she cares about them more than anything.

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