illustrated portraits of Toad, Mole, Rat, and Badger set against a woodland scene

The Wind in the Willows

by Kenneth Grahame
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What is the structure of The Wind in the Willows?

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The Wind in the Willows is written in chapters about anthropomorphic animals living in the countryside. The main characters are Mole, Rat, Badger, and Toad. They each have a sub-sect of adventures and independent stories as their lives intersect throughout the novel. Each character has their own individual traits; Mole is humble, but loyal, Rat is friendly and relaxed, Toad is impulsive and conceited, Badger is wise, but a bit gruff. The novel starts off with Mole meeting Rat and they take an an afternoon boating and learning the ways of the water. They encounter Toad, a wealthy but conceited individual who is only focused on current fads. In their ride with Toad in his horse drawn carriage, they crash into a ditch because of a speeding car that scares the horse. Toad ends up in prison for stealing a car in his obsession with the motor car. Toad is whereby, the cautionary tale. Toad's adventure continues as he escapes from prison to recapture his hall which has been overtaken by weasels and stoats form the Wild Wood. His friends Mole and Rat assist with his regaining of Toad Hall.

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