Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Mole has spring fever, for he has been busy with his cleaning and his repairing for too long. Because the new spring smells and the sight of budding green are everywhere about him, he cannot resist them. Throwing aside his tools and his mops, together with his ambition for cleaning, he leaves his little home under the ground and travels up to a lovely meadow. There he wanders through the grass and along the river. He never saw a river before, and he is bewitched by its chuckling and its glimmering in the sunlight.
As he watches, Mole sees a dark hole in the bank. From it protrudes the bewhiskered face of Water Rat, who promptly invites Mole to visit him. Mole, of course, cannot swim, and so Rat takes his little boat and rows across to get him. Such enchantment is almost too much for quiet Mole. As they glide across the gurgling water, he thinks this is the best day of his entire life. After a little accident, they reach Rat’s house. There they pack a picnic basket and set out on a real excursion. They stay carefully away from the Wild Wood, for fierce animals live there. Badger keeps his home there, but nobody will dare bother Badger.
As they float down the river, Rat tells Mole about other animals and about the Wide World. Rat never saw the Wide World and never wanted to see it, and he warns Mole against it. It is no place for respectable animals. When they stop for their picnic lunch, they are joined by Otter. Badger looks in on them but...
(The entire section is 1205 words.)
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The Wind in the Willows continues to be a treasured book of childhood, one whose readers grow up to pass along to their own children. The book is a collection of adventures that combine to tell the story of a group of everyday English animals who live along the banks of the River. Almost immediately the characters of Toad, Ratty, Mole, and Badger become as "real" as our next door neighbor, and we forget that they are "just" animals. The personalities of the characters are familiar to all of us: the silly, impulsive Toad; the practical Ratty; the emotional Mole; and the stodgy Badger. Grahame shows them at their best, and at their worst, dealing with problems to which we can all be sympathetic: losing one's home, getting into trouble for behaving foolishly, and learning the value of friends and loyalty. The characters are appealing to readers of any age.
. . . the best part of a holiday is perhaps not so much to be resting yourself, as to see all the other fellows busy working.
The Wind in the Willows explores the important issues of friendship and generosity. It also lets readers see how much there is to appreciate in the world of nature, even in the simplest of creatures or events. Readers soon come to understand that the most important things are home, family, and friends. Money and worldly goods cannot replace the love and support of friends; the biggest house or the fastest car cannot equal the pleasures of familiar things and homey...
(The entire section is 255 words.)
Chapter 1: The River Bank
The Wind in the Willows begins with Mole who is spring-cleaning his house when he finds that “something up above was calling him imperiously.” Giving in to curiosity, he quickly digs his way to the world above. Everything is new to him. He has not even seen a river before. The first person he makes an acquaintance with is Water Rat, who invites Mole on a boat ride and an impromptu picnic. Rat explains much to Mole about aspects of the world above ground and the River Bank community. After the picnic, they head back upstream towards Rat’s hole in the bank of the river. Mole ends up almost tipping the boat when he excitedly grabs the sculls (or oars) from Rat, which Rat readily forgives.
Chapter 2: The Open Road
Mole and Rat pay a visit to Mr. Toad. Toad is happy to have the company and pleased to meet Mr. Mole, and he convinces them to join him in a cart and horse trip, which is his latest craze. Their first two days on the road are fairly uneventful. On the third day, they come to their first high road, where they are nearly run down by an automobile moving at high speed. The cart is wrecked from veering off the road. Toad is taken by a new craze— automobiles—and becomes useless as Mole and Rat deal with the situation. They walk to the nearest town where they catch a train that takes them home.
Chapter 3: The Wild Wood
Mole decides to...
(The entire section is 1420 words.)