The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

The Wind in the Willows book cover
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Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Grahame seems to believe that the countryside is a better place to be than the city. How do the stories in The Wind in the Willows support this belief?

2. When all of the birds are preparing to migrate for the winter, what effect does their talk have on Ratty? Why is the seafaring rat's talk also appealing to him? What does he believe that his life lacks?

3. In the boating accident in the chapter "The River Bank" Mole learns an important lesson. What was it and how did he learn it?

4. In the chapter "The Wild Wood" Grahame makes a distinction between the summer and winter seasons. How do the activities of the animals differ?

5. In the chapter "Dulce Domum," which means "Sweet Home," why did Mole feel ashamed of his home? How did his home differ from that of Rat's?

6. In Toad's adventure with the gypsy cart we learn a lot about what kind of character he is. Based on his behavior in that chapter ("The Open Road"), how would you describe him? What specific actions led you to draw those conclusions? Why?

7. Many people say that the animals in The Wind in the Willows are just like people. What specific characteristics (behavior, personality, and so on) would lead them to form that opinion? Do you agree? Why or why not?

8. Mr. Toad never seems to learn his lesson. It is not until the chapter "The Return of Ulysses" that his behavior changes for the better. What alterations does he make in his attitudes? How are those changes expressed in his actions? Why did he change? What brought about those changes?

9. Ratty seems to be particularly drawn to the seafaring rat's narrative about his life and adventures. Why did the seafaring rat leave the farm? Why would Ratty want to leave his comfortable home and go to sea? Compare the lives that the two rats lead.