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Pastoral Themes in the Wind & the Willows
Pastoral works refer to a genre of literature that focuses on the bucolic aspects of nature and the countryside. The English countryside represents the ideal location for a pastoral work. One such work is the Edwardian children’s story, The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. Since its publication in 1908, the story has become a beloved children’s classic. However, the story represents Edwardian society in England, and uses anthropomorphized animals to represent Edwardian men. As a pastoralwork, the events of the story occur in the English countryside, where the animals work together to care for the wild one in their group, Mr. Toad. Mr. Toad’s “Wild Ride” through he English countryside …show more content…
The author used the background of a pastoral vision to help elucidate the characteristics of Edwardian society. Mr. Toad is one of the most known characters from the work. He is extremely wealthy and essentially bored with his life. His English country life does not offer him fulfillment. As such, he jumps from interest to interest, quickly grabbing at new hobbies. As a wealthy landed scion, he has the luxury of this lifestyle. From the earliest mentions of his home, Toad Hall, it becomes apparent that he represents the landed gentry. Rat points out his home from the river. “The stables are over there to the right. That’s the banqueting-hall you’re looking at now—very old, that is. Toad is rather rich, you know” (Grahame 19). Toad quickly changes his interests, spending the money his father left him. Rat describes this character flaw of Toad: “’Boating is out. He’s tired of it, and done with it. I wonder what new fad he has taken up now?’” (Grahame 21). Toad quickly takes up motoring as his new hobby. Motoring referred to the hobby of driving and racing cars, something only the wealthy could afford at this time. All of this is discussed as the characters take a slow ride down the river and then sit quietly in the countryside. An outdoor luncheon helps to create the image of the setting. The English countryside represents the perfect pastoral setting, and the characters all seem to enjoy

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