A shrew by nature as well as species, Auntie Shrew is a character of mixed traits. Although she may be a bit of a busybody and has a somewhat over-inflated sense of her own importance, she means well deep down. While she may also be an opinionated, supicious, stubborn and acerbic old fussbudget, she can also be very brave if the situation calls for it.
Frequently called upon by Mrs. Brisby, Auntie Shrew is as dedicated as a nanny as she is as the "town crier" for the animal residents of the Fitzgibbons field. The Brisby children (Martin in particular) do not hold her in quite as high regard as she probably deserves (or expects), although Teresa and Cynthia, at least, show her some respect when she's around.
Quote: "Why me? That I alone should be responsible for the welfare of the entire field is monstrous!"
Origins of the character: In Robert C. O'Brien's book "Mrs. Frisby And The Rats Of NIMH", this character is only ever called "the shrew", not "Auntie Shrew" or "Auntie". She's also not quite the acerbic fussbudget that she is in The Secret of NIMH, but she still has very strong opinions, and considers herself responsible for the welfare (and the news) of the field. Described in the book as having "a wit as sharp as her teeth", she uses both to good effect. Near the end of the story, as the rats of NIMH are preparing to move the Frisby family home, the shrew actually holds them at bay, and bites one of the rats on the leg! It takes Mrs. Frisby's timely intervention to convince her that the rats are not there to steal anything from her home or cause any other kind of trouble.
In the animated sequel: It's a few years since the events of the first movie, and all the characters have aged. On some of them, like Auntie Shrew, it shows. She has a much smaller role in the sequel, and has lost much of that crusty fussiness which endeared her to so many fans.
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