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The Wind In The Willows

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Autor:  anton  05 March 2011
Tags:  Willows
Words: 817   |   Pages: 4
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The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame has challenged the reader to see the world and individuals in different ways, through the adventures of four animal friends that exhibit human behaviour, and through themes like journey, rights and responsibility and friendship and relationships.

The novel is a comment on the English social structure of the late 19th Century during the time of industrialization. In the novel Toad represents the Ruling class, who has wealth, power, privilege, status and responsibility. But Toad can be egotistical and arrogant, according to Rate “perhaps he’s not very clever-we can’t all be geniuses: and it may be that he is both boastful and conceited.” Toad is inspired by venturing off into the unknown. In the novel Toad decides to go travelling. When Toad goes on his journey he rejects all his responsibilities. Toad is also madly obsessed with cars, caravans and boats. His attraction to these material objects causes him to do foolish things which lead him into a lot of trouble. Toad is sent to jail after he steals a motor-car and crashes it. While Toad is not present in society the stoats and weasels, “the Wild-Wooders”, who resemble the rebellious aspect of society, decide to overtake Toad Hall because they believe that Toad would never return. However Toad, being Toad, manages to escape from jail and make his way home. When toad eventually returns, he finds that society had changed because the Stoats and Weasels had taken over. The novel demonstrates and lets as see what will happen to society if those at the top of the hierarchy do not recognise their responsibilities.

As well as this the novel is also about journey. It is about a physical journey and the inner, spiritual journey of each individual character. Various characters in the novel feel the need to go on a journey, the main characters that demonstrate these feelings are Toad and Mole. The author also looks at the characters different responses to the idea of journey. Toad represents the positive attitude to journey. Toad absolutely adores travel because it brings him excitement. His type of journey is one undertaken for leisure and enjoyment. “Here today, up and off somewhere tomorrow. Travel, change, interest, excitement! The world before you and a horizon that is always changing.” But His obsession with travel soon becomes extremely dangerous. Toad learns that travel has risks as well as rewards. Mole is another main character but is very different to Toad. Mole is quiet, hardworking and cautious. Mole represents the variety of choices that are offered when journey is suggested. In the novel Mole is eager for excitement and adventure, when it is offered, but also enjoys the security of his home. Mole leaves his home and goes on a journey. Mole explores the lifestyle of the riverbank and learns how to swim boat and row. He also explores the Wild Wood and meets new people like Badger and Toad. Mole is torn between his need for the security and comfort of his home and desire for adventure. Despite how much Mole enjoyed life on the Riverbank he decides to return to his familiar surroundings. The novel lets us consider the variety of choices available when journey is offered.

The novel also explores the friendship of the main characters. The novel is about the importance of friendship and teaches us never to take friends for granted. In the novel Toad decides to go on a journey without considering what his friends might want to do. Toad gets into a great deal of trouble and is sent to jail. While Toad had disappeared from society a lot of chaos occurs and bad things happen when the Stoats and Weasels overtake Toad Hall. The Stoats and Weasels disliked Toad, and didn’t want him to return. Despite what the stoats and Weasels though Mole, Rat and Badger stood up for Toad, they knew Toad would return somehow and hoped that he would. Badger and Mole stayed out keeping an eye on Toad hall, trying to figure out what the Weasels were doing and planning ways to win back Toad hall. “Those two poor devoted animals have been camping out in the open, in every sort of weather, living very rough by day and lying very hard by night; watching over your house… You don't deserve to have such true and loyal friends, Toad, you don't, really. Some day, when it's too late, you'll be sorry you didn't value them more while you had them!”

Before Toad left he did not even consider how his actions would affect others. Only when his friends tell him everything that had happened Toad suddenly realises how immature and selfish he had been. He learns to cherish his friends and respect them.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame has challenged the reader to see the world and individuals in different ways.

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