City Mouse and Country Mouse
In an Aesop's Fable, the Country Mouse offers a big-city Mouse a simple meal, which the City Mouse scoffs at. The two go to the big city for a much more fancy repast, and then are chased by a cat, whereupon the Country Mouse returns home with a new appreciation for the simpler, but safer life.
This contrast of “Country Mouse” character in the alien environment of the big city, or the “City Mouse” forced to live in the backwoods or more “earthy” environment is great fodder for fiction. We know that “contrast” is a powerful tool in all art.
Little Mouse on the Prairie
It's often the Country Mouse who offers folksy wisdom or innocence and purity to the denizens of the big, bad city (unless it's a darker, more dramatic story where the Country Mouse is swallowed up by the complexities and corruption in the city and ends up worse off).
Mice place to visit
Sometimes the point is to appreciate the home the Country Mouse wasn't so happy with in the beginning (like in The Wizard of Oz and Antz).
The vast majority of the time, the City is evil, or a City Mouse Protagonist has a lot to learn from “the simple life”.
The various combinations of Country Mouse, City Mouse, and their environments are reliable set ups for fish out of water stories (or Mice out of water), romantic comedies or even dramas and thrillers (take the classic movie “Witness” for example!). Practically ever genre can make use of the outsider/fish out of water in some way, I suppose!
A couple of my picks for good City and Country Mice:
I really liked Joel Fleischman from Northern Exposure, the New York City doctor and fish out of water in that Alaskan town. In that series, he was usually the more “normal” one, reacting to the oddballs he was living with.
As for a memorable country mouse, I loved Forrest Gump. Exaggeratedly simple and unchangeable, he survived some infamous decades, with “City Mouse” Jenny his opposite.
Is there a City Mouse character or story you like? How about a Country Mouse story?
Banes at 12:00AM, Dec. 5, 2019
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