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The Wind in the Willows
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June-December 2020 > June 2020 The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame

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message 1: by Jamie (last edited May 23, 2020 11:51AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jamie (sharpsarcasm) | 74 comments Mod
We're redoing our 2020 reading list. From here on out we'll be sticking to books in the public domain (but still sci-fi, fantasy, and horror) so everyone can still get a copy while our inter-district loans are shut down.

You can download The Wind in the Willows here at the Project Gutenberg

Jamie (sharpsarcasm) | 74 comments Mod
Also found an audiobook on LibriVox if anyone is interested!

Megb | 17 comments Hey All! I started reading this version and decided to switch to the audio. The audiobook on OverDrive is very good and has made it a smoother read.

So far, I admire Mole for just deciding on a whim to leave his home and explore. It was abrupt, but I think it is something that a lot of people dream of.

I also think this book highlights the limitations of our individual perspectives and shows how we view our own little worlds. In some ways Mole reminds me of myself living abroad and interacting with others, specially Mole's curiosity and wonderment and Rat's devotion to his way of life and shock of how Mole is so ignorant of it.

I'm planning to finish this week and write more soon. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Jamie (sharpsarcasm) | 74 comments Mod
It's been a while since I've read this, and it's certainly been a different experience this time around. For one thing, I'm noticing more of the class disparity, the thing about no animal having a job and this gem: “After all, the best part of a holiday is perhaps not so much to be resting yourself, as to see all the other fellows busy working.”

I do still love Mole and his enthusiasm for everything, but I'm starting to resent Rat's dismissal of anything beyond his own interest and experience.

(And Toad is far less entertaining now that I've got some life experience and empathy for the people crossing is path!)

Amber Ridenour | 31 comments Jamie, thanks for doing so much research for our club! I just downloaded mine to my Kindle for free, thank goodness.

Jamie and Meg, I just started reading but so far so good. I plan to read a bunch and catch up to you guys. Reading your thoughts before I read will definitely give me perspectives on these characters and I will see if I agree or not.

Megb | 17 comments Some little thoughts:

The more I get into the story, the more I see the class disparity too. The rat thinks the river is the center of the universe.

Toad reminds me of people who I know who always have the newest thing, like the latest version of iPhone.

I'm still trying to figure out the role of the rabbits.

I really want to explore Badger's house. He's also a mystery to me. He seems very reclusive but inviting at the same time. It's an interesting combination.

Another wonder: Where are the women in this story?

Jamie (sharpsarcasm) | 74 comments Mod
Are the rabbits suburbanites (or their 1908 equivalents)? They seem kind of house-proud and gossipy, and you pretty much only see them talked about en masse.

We get a couple women in "Toad's Adventures" but I'm pretty sure they only are women because they're stock characters from pretty much any escape story at the time and the stock characters are always women.

Megb | 17 comments Jamie, I think that makes sense. There is definitely a separation between the rabbits and others, so that division makes sense.

The women in "Toad's Adventures" were definitely stock characters. At this point, the story mixed the animals and humans. At this point in the story, I feel like Badger, Mole, and Rat stage an intervention with Toad. A lot of Toad's actions remind me of an addict.

Badger seems to be the patriarch. He organizes everything and the animals look to him for guidance.

Megb | 17 comments Additionally, what do you all think about Toad's actions as being an example white privilege or even privilege from social status? Through many of his experiences in the book, he skates through without major consequences. Finally, when he does have a consequence and is sent to jail, he escapes and is never caught or really even looked for (expect for initially in the train seen). He is also able to pass a non-threat. At the end, he is able to reclaim everything he has lost, despite not deserving it. Had he been a different type animal or of a lower class, would he have experienced the same result?

Amber Ridenour | 31 comments Oh wow.... So I am at 67% of the story and I also was wondering where are the ladies? The demi-god was a curious choice to add, but I suppose it gave the characters some depth by giving them religion, maybe?

I did think it was pretty nuts that toad was able to escape from jail by basically being cute and pathetic. He does seem to have a lot of good luck. He inherited all his money, which is why I think he has so many of those noveaux riche problems. He never had to work or earn any of the nice things he has so they are just play things and things to brag about.

My biggest mystery is that this is a tale involving animals who talk and drive, etc. but there are also human people. They are rarely mentioned but sometimes I'm not sure who is a human or not. Like the jailers (gaolers) were mentioned and the author calls the one girl just "girl" and there's the washer woman who wears clothes and it sounded like they were describing a human woman. Did I miss the part where they said what animal she was? Also, when the water rat is telling his tales at sea he mentions the ports and the boats and shipping items like wine. At first, I pictured the rat hopping aboard human ships to catch a ride, as he mentioned staying in the captain's quarters. Then later, he talks about the boat carrying the casks of wine and he says after they were hauled in, "we refreshed and rested" (pg. 131) which then makes it sound like he helped haul those casks in. Wouldn't humans see these animals if they were driving their own boats and hauling cargo? Because in the part where they went through the human town, it seemed they took care not to be seen. And so far, they haven't had any direct interactions with humans.

If you have this figured out, please explain it to me. I'm going to try to finish the book tonight so I can start on my other book. I'm still reading that Throne of Glass series, LOL. Thanks for getting me hooked on that series Jamie! Wink

Jamie (sharpsarcasm) | 74 comments Mod
Megan: Toad is definitely privileged! I’d assumed it was purely based on income/class, but the truth is even when he’s temporarily stripped of his fortune he still gets away with things. I guess it could still be class mannerisms making him seem “safe,” but your theory on white privilege equivalent is probably spot on.

I still don’t know what to make of the appearance of Pan. It feels like the scene has the emphasis of being the one thing the book has been leading toward the entire time even though it doesn’t seem to fit the rest of the book at all.
As far as the human and animal interactions (and scaling?) , they really seem to be interacting with regular humans and everyone acts like it’s not unusual. I did a little looking, and apparently the first edition wasn’t illustrated. Supposedly Grahame authorized some of the illustrations from E. H. Shephard (best known for illustrating A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh) for the 1931 edition, so those might be considered more accurate than some.

I guess that could help explain why he was considered harmless, too, though.

(And you needed a new addictive series, right?)

Amber Ridenour | 31 comments Okay, so I finished the book. I totally agree with what you said as to scaling. It was difficult for me to picture the washerwoman throwing toad and then him stealing a horse?! What? Anyways, toad's character had me really not liking him in the end. I guess, he seemed to be "turning over a new leaf" as his buddies wanted him to. To me though, I think his new behavior is just a fad and he will be up to his usual tricks and spoiled ways, as it is against Toad's nature to stick with any one thing for very long. I will say that Toad's friends were really great to him and he doesn't deserve them.

Overall, if it was some kind of allegory the message was lost on me. It wasn't too difficult to read, but was quite strange for me to try and interpret. Perhaps you lovely ladies can shine some more light on the author's theme or moral for this book.

message 13: by Megb (new) - rated it 3 stars

Megb | 17 comments Amber: I think the jailer and the girl were humans. That was the impression that I got.
Toad's friends were too kind to him, and you are right in saying that he didn't deserve them.
I'm also not sure that the takeaway from this book is. Had Toad truly been punished, there could have been a good lesson there. There are a lot of good examples of friendship; however, the animals were very quick to make friends and trust others that we don't really encourage nowadays. For example, Mole moved right in with Rat without even knowing him. I thought Rat was very hospitable (In fact, the animals seemed to generally be very hospitable.), but this is not something I would encourage my daughter to do.

Jamie (sharpsarcasm) | 74 comments Mod
It's got to be another class thing, doesn't it? You pass the initial inspection as being of an appropriate background and suddenly everything opens up to you because you can't possibly do anything wrong.

(I may be reading too much into this since I read The Secret Histories a few weeks ago...)

Peter Kazmaier (peterkazmaier) | 4 comments Hello my name is Peter Kazmaier and I just joined your ANOTHER WORLD BOOK CLUB. I was delighted to see that you are reading some of my favorite books in the upcoming months and I look forward to re-reading them again.

I noticed that you recently read Kenneth Grahame’s THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS. By chance I had also re-read it in the past year. I was interested in reading your comments on Grahame’s book. For my part, I see the story as a powerful illustration of true friendship. Mole, Rat, Badger, and Toad are all different and bring different things to their friendship. Mole, strikes me as a bit of a recluse but discovers in himself enough “wanderlust” to leave home. Rat, befriends him and teaches him about the joy and beauty of the river and “messing about in boats.” Badger awakens Rat and Mole’s loyalty and inspires them to rescue arrogant Toad from himself (usually without thanks from Toad) but especially when Toad needs to have Toad Hall rescued from the stoats.

When I read the story I was struck by the loyalty shown by the friends to each other. It’s a good reminder to me to try to be the kind of friend illustrated by this tale. I'm looking forward to interacting further with you.

Jamie (sharpsarcasm) | 74 comments Mod
Peter wrote: "Hello my name is Peter Kazmaier and I just joined your ANOTHER WORLD BOOK CLUB. I was delighted to see that you are reading some of my favorite books in the upcoming months and I look forward to re..."

Glad to have you!

message 17: by Megb (new) - rated it 3 stars

Megb | 17 comments Welcome, Peter!

Amber Ridenour | 31 comments Hello Peter! I'm so glad we have another member of our club!

Peter Kazmaier (peterkazmaier) | 4 comments Thank you for the warm and kind welcome to your group! I'm getting ready to re-read A PRINCESS OF MARS.

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