After reading this book, someone said, “This is a great critique of capitalism.” I didn’t say anything in response because I certainly didn’t mean it as a critique of capitalism. Sure, the main characters lose sight of their goals (white mice) in the heat of competition. But that phenomenon isn’t unique to capitalism. A man in Ireland killed his opponent and tried to eat his heart over a chess dispute. And how many duels went down because two men were competing for a woman? How many restraining orders were handed out because two women were fighting over a man? No, losing sight of what’s important (morality, law, white mice) in the heat of competition is a human flaw.
In the case of Albert and Leo, the spirit of competition was actually a positive thing. It pushed both boys to strive to work to reach their goals (white mice). And even if they lost sight of what is important (white mice) and things didn’t turn out as they planned (lots of white mice), they learned a valuable set of skills they could use to try and try again (future white mice). And THAT is the message behind “Small White Mice.”