Robert Burns, To a Mouse

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First published in the 1786 Kilmarnock edition of Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, “To a Mouse”, as it is commonly known, is one of Robert Burns’s best-known and best-loved poems. Talking to the universal themes of dashed hopes and the impacts of social change on the ordinary person, the poem illustrates Burns’s skill in taking his personal experience of an ordinary event and shrewdly turning it into a critique of the wider context in which he lived. The universality of the messages is such that they continue to resonate with a modern audience, perhaps most notably in the title of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, a twentieth-century story of how a single, unexpected incident can destroy the plans and dreams of an individual. Placing these themes within an agricultural…

2753 words

Citation: Hansen, Moira. "To a Mouse". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 March 2018 [, accessed 09 December 2023.]

38802 To a Mouse 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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