Study Guide

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH Chapter 16

By Robert C. O'Brien

Chapter 16

The Maze

  • The rats learn that Dr. Schultz is an expert on brains and that he wants to figure out what the injections do to the rats' gray matter. 
  • So he tells George and Julie to watch for signs of learning and greater intelligence. 
  • One day, George opens Nicodemus's cage door and appears to let him free.
  • Nicodemus runs like a bat out of you know where, but suddenly he receives a shock and jumps back in surprise. 
  • Ahhhh. Nicodemus soon figures out that he is in a maze that is designed to test his intelligence.
  • Even though Nicodemus understands that the scientists are not setting him free, he keeps trying different exits, everyday, because he just can't resist the chance at freedom.
  • In addition to the maze, the scientists also do other activities with the rats, like shape recognition. Sounds fun, huh? (Not.)
  • One rat in the group refuses to give up on escaping. This rat is Justin. 
  • He makes an attempt the next morning, but it seems almost as if the scientists were expecting it.
  • Since they're one step ahead of him, Julie just scoops him up and puts him back in the cage. 
  • Dr. Schultz remarks on how much smarter the Justin/Nicodemus/Jenner group is than the other lab groups. 
  • He also thinks that Justin probably won't try to escape again.
  • Ah, but Dr. Schultz is wrong about that, that's for sure.