Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows Essays

Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows Essays

Length: 1070 words (3.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows


Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows is a satirical reflection of the English social structure of the late nineteenth century, during a time of rapid industrialization throughout Europe. Also considered a children’s story, this novel conveys Grahame’s belief in the ability of one to live an unrestrained and leisurely life, free of the obligations of the working class, and entitled to this life through high social status and wealth. The River Bank characters, especially Toad, represent those who live this idle life of the upper class. In contrast, the stoats and weasels of the Wild Wood resemble the proletariat, and an animosity between these two classes existed. The lower classes of the time were subject to poor standards of living, as well as exploitation by the factory owners and businessmen. They developed a resentment and hostile attitude towards the upper classes. In this book, Toad most prominently exemplifies Grahame’s ideal life of leisure and freedom and subsequently has his house taken over by the rebellious working class Wild-Wooders. More importantly though, Toad exhibits many qualities, “that make him, for most readers, the most memorable figure in this book”. Yet many of these characteristics displayed by the aristocratic Toad seem to undermine the author’s attempted, “legitimizing of extreme disparities of wealth and social position” (Keefer).

Toad is shown to be a very rich and prominent figure in the River Bank society. He is well known in his community, and in the community of the Wild Wood, and is a dear companion to Mole, Rat, and Badger, the other three main characters. Toad displays many admirable qualities that make his figure a very memorable one. Rat describes him to Mole as being, “always good-tempered, always glad to see you, always sorry when you go… He is indeed the best of animals. So simple, so good-natured, and so affectionate” (13). Toad is also a good friend, is a compassionate animal, and he demonstrates all of these qualities, and others, at numerous points in the story. For example, he invites Mole and Rat to come with him on his adventure (16). However, it seems that the author has made Toad’s ‘negative’ qualities more definitive and more memorable than his aforementioned ‘positive’ qualities.

Toad is a very coercive and extravagant individual, he is presumptuous...


... middle of paper ...


... about, and I know exactly what to do, and I’ll tell you” (131). Toad’s deceitful nature shown here and the way he takes advantage or tries to manipulate one of his friends for his own betterment, as well as the other aspects that show Toad in a negative light, is not consistent with Grahame’s allegory. Although in this novel and the context of the River Bankers, Toad’s actions are harmless and comical, they are representative of the upper class, and a poor representative in that respect if the author is attempting to validate the ideas of wealth and status.

“Why should he have so much money?” is the basic question surrounding the issue of Toad’s social legitimacy in The Wind in the Willows (Keefer, 10/25/99). Toad, no doubt, is a very memorable figure because of the things that make up his character. However, when Grahame presents these qualities to the reader, it is inconsistent with his trying to justify the extreme separation and inequality of classes. The stoats and weasels resent Toad, and what he signifies, and take Toad Hall as an act of defiance or rebellion. However, in the end, it is the upper class that regains control of the house, and subdues the unruly society.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Wind in the Willows: Kenneth Grahame and Neopaganism Essay

- The Wind in the Willows: Kenneth Grahame and Neopaganism                 The beauty of the English countryside--cultivated or wild, pastoral or primeval, it was an endless source of inspiration for eighteenth-century Romantic poets. Such notables as Wordsworth, Keats, and Shelley envisioned ancient and exotic Hellenic gods in familiar, typically British settings. Douglas Bush says of Keats, "For him the common sights of Hampstead Heath could suggest how poets had first conceived of fauns and dryads, of Psyche and Pan and Narcissus and Endymion" ( Pagan Myth 46)....   [tags: Wind in the Willows]

Strong Essays
3002 words (8.6 pages)

Essay about The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham

- ... Mr.Toad is wealthy, mischievous, simple-minded, kind, and determined. Personally, I believe Mr.Toad is the one who gets himself into trouble the most.”I wonder, he said to himself presently, If this sort of car starts easily?”(PG.79)”Let me see: he has been found guilty, on the clearest evidence, first of stealing a valuable motor car.” As you continue to read the book, we meet Mr.Badger. Mr.Badger is a recluse but he is kind, generous, wise, and he tells great stories.”Mr.Badger, he’s a kind-hearted gentleman, as everyone knows…” The characters in this story are as different as night and day, but somehow they all get along and become friends....   [tags: character analysis]

Free Essays
604 words (1.7 pages)

Wind Energy : Wind Power Essay

- INTRODUCTION Wind energy is gaining popularity throughout the world. Due to growing importance of wind energy, the rapid development of wind energy technology has a large involvement of people and institutions. Wind power is increasingly being viewed as the mainstream of electric power supply due to: zero emission of harmful gases ,significantly economically exploitable resource potential , no cost uncertainties from fuel supply price fluctuations, modular and rapid installation opportunities for industrial rural and economic development, which majorly constitute its benefits....   [tags: Wind power, Wind turbine, Wind farm]

Strong Essays
1297 words (3.7 pages)

Wind Power And Wind Energy Essays

- In the political arena, there is a lot of support for wind power from the general public. In a Vermont poll, wind energy has the support of 66 percent of Vermonters. http://www.aweablog.org/public-opinion-watch-vermont-poll-yet-again-finds-strong-support-for-wind-power/ Wind power still has to try to be competitive with more conventional generation sources when it comes to cost. A wind farm might or might not be competitive in cost.. It depends on how busy and energetic the average wind site is....   [tags: Wind power, Energy development, Wind turbine]

Strong Essays
1347 words (3.8 pages)

Wind Energy And Wind Turbine Essay

- 1.Background and Research: 1.1.History of wind energy and wind turbine Fig1.1 History of Wind Turbines During the last century, due to the rapid development of the power system, the use of wind energy experienced several stages. Firstly, the period of infancy, in the 1930s and 1940s, hundreds of thousands of electricity producing wind turbines were built in the U.S. These wind turbines provided electricity to farms beyond the reach of power lines and were typically used to charge storage batteries, operate radio receivers and power a light bulb or two [1]....   [tags: Wind power, Wind turbine, Renewable energy]

Strong Essays
2847 words (8.1 pages)

Essay about The Effect Of Wind Power On Wind Energy

- The focus on wind energy will become the end of the world’s economy, electricity, and survivability if we continue to only focus on this source of power. Governments should decrease production of wind energy alone, and instead formulate a plan that consists of all “green” energy sources, which in turn will provide maximum power outage. There are many problems with wind turbines, two of which are major drawbacks. Wind turbines become inefficient when the wind is not blowing (National Geographic)....   [tags: Wind power, Energy development, Wind turbine]

Strong Essays
1483 words (4.2 pages)

Kenneth Fearing’s Dirge Essay

- Kenneth Fearing’s Dirge Traditionally, dirges are composed in the form of a song or hymn of mourning as a memorial to a dead person. The very definition suggests that the particular qualities of the dead individual deserve recognition. The dirge is not just written for anyone, but for those deserving of glorification, who survive in the memories of the living as testaments to the greater capacities of humankind. It is against this traditional definition that Kenneth Fearing’s poem, “Dirge”, is working, not only as an overt commentary on the social, cultural, and political factors surrounding the destabilization of 1930’s America but also as an abstraction of the prevalent views of reality:...   [tags: Kenneth Fearing Dirge Essays]

Strong Essays
1633 words (4.7 pages)

Kenneth Branagh's Love's Labour's Lost Essay

- Kenneth Branagh's Love's Labour's Lost In our teaching of Shakespearean film adaptation to undergraduates, one of the issues that frequently arises in class discussions is the question of how the visuality of the cinematic medium is constructed in tension against the verbal nature of Shakespeare's dialogue. The tension between the visual and verbal dimensions of filming Shakespeare is created on two levels: firstly, where the poetry of Shakespeare, functioning as word pictures that stimulate and enhance the imagination of the spectator is set against the capacity of film to show rather than tell; and secondly, where the adaptation negotiates with the canonicity of the Shakespearean text t...   [tags: Kenneth Branagh Love Labour Lost Essays]

Free Essays
7638 words (21.8 pages)

Report on Wind Essay

- Report on Wind I did my report on wind. As you may or may not know wind moves horizontally, and the wind that doesn’t move horizontally moves vertically. That kind of wind is called a current. Many things may cause these rushes of moving air, one thing would be atmospheric pressure differences. The differences in the distribution of pressure and temperature is caused by the unequal distribution of heat. There are also the differences in the thermal properties of land and the ocean surfaces. When the temperatures of different regions become unequal, the warmer air will normally rise and move over the cold air because the cold air is heavier....   [tags: Wind Energy Weather Essays]

Free Essays
1628 words (4.7 pages)

Wind Power Essay

- The Power of Wind Wind energy is a free and limitless power source. No matter where you go, there will always be wind. In the past, wind was captured and controlled through the use of sails for the powering of ships. Now that larger amounts of energy have been found, through the burning of fossil fuels, the art of sailing has faded to a recreational sport. Wind has also been used in the past to power mills, which have been used to pump water and grind grains. Though now these techniques of harnessing wind’s power are now not widely used, even though it is an effective power source....   [tags: Wind Energy Global Warming]

Strong Essays
827 words (2.4 pages)