Study Guide

The Witches Mice

By Roald Dahl


Mice are everywhere in The Witches: real mice (William and Mary), mice-people (our narrator and Bruno), and mice-witches. What are some of the most memorable mouse-related scenes in this book? For Shmoop, we remember a lot of running around and screaming caused by mice. The Chambermaid nearly has a heart attack whenever she sees them (5.40, 14.4) and the cooks and waiters come out with frying pans and carving knives when they spot the little creatures (18.33, 20.16).

But wait, don't forget about our narrator's circus-training fun with his pet mice (5.59-63) and the joy that all the children feel when they see all the mice running around the Dining Room after the victory over the witches (20.16).

Why the two very different reactions to mice? Well, the way Shmoop sees it, adults hate mice and kids love 'em. Except for Grandmamma, all of the adults in the story have an adverse (that means "bad") reaction to mice, while all the kids get a kick out of them. So, mice are an image that helps us make that distinction between the adult world and the world of children (and it makes Grandmamma, the oldest character in the book, seem all the more youthful because of her love of mice). This is a child-oriented world we're in, and the fact that we're on a mouse's side makes that all-the-more clear.