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I was NOT disappointed. Toad was just as cantankerous and difficult as ever. Badger, Rat and Mole were...
I was NOT disappointed. Toad was just as cantankerous and difficult as ever. Badger, Rat and Mole were just as supportive - just as memorable. Badger is unpredictable but protective (and sometimes mean). Mole is timid and shy. Rat is courageous and romantic. And who could ever forget those dreadful gun-toting weasels, ferrets and stoats glorying in their take-over of Toad Hall? Wind in the Willows is a true masterpiece of allegory with endless moral lessons disguised as a childrens story. It is also a lesson in things long-forgotten... the glory of floating noiselessly down a river at dawn, past loosestrife, willowherb, bulrushes and meadowsweet. How many of us have even heard of these meadow plants, never mind seen them. But it doesnt matter, because it evokes nostalgia either for things long-forgotten or for things never-known.
At a childs level, Wind in the Willows is about friendship and about life in an imagined world centered around the river. At a less innocent level, Wind in the Willows draws many parallels with life, though Kenneth Grahame managed to avoid preaching his lessons. Not the least of Grahams parables is that the bigger they are, the harder they fall because Toad is as egotistical and as self-important as they come until being thrown in jail for borrowing a car. After that, its all downhill for Toad, and it is only thanks to the loyalty of his friends that he regains some of his position in society - though not before learning a little humility first.
Though, at an older age, we pretend to be more sophisticated, at heart we always hold out the hope of a return to innocence and simple adventures. We are still (most of us) perfectly capable of identifying with the animals and the idea, as one reviewer put it, of two school-aged hedgehogs frying ham for a mole and a water rat, in a badgers kitchen does my imagination no harm whatsoever!
If youre looking for laser guns and hi-tech wars, W-i-t-W is NOT the book to buy. If youre after something a little more gentle (and a little more intelligent) Wind in the Willows is an outstanding example of a Classic that continues to withstand the test of time.