Wednesday, February 01, 2006

From the Beginning

This site has always looked with particular affection on Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Graham's comic pastoral of English country life. My Dad read it to us when we were little, and I read it for my own pleasure years later (with pleasure much enhanced by admiration for it's beauty and wit), and I have read it to other kids since then. I sort of leaned on excerpts from it when I started this blog - Ratty was, and is, my signature character - were I an animal, he's the sort I'd like to be. My brother was very insightful when he started calling me RatBoy (for other reasons of his own), and it seemed a natural fit when it came time to brand this blog. I've never been sorry.

I've also thought, when I've posted excerpts from the book, that it provided counter-arguments - even some solace - to the vicious life we are so often now encouraged to lead. Ratty, Mole, Badger, the impossible Toad - all value sympathy and forgiveness, even when it cuts against their grain. I'm not trying to draw lessons from the fable, just hold up a small mirror, and compare. Ratty's love of his independence and neat arrangements; Mole's devotion to home and hearth; Badger's sense of justice; even Toad's guilt at having been an egotistical fool (which in itself will not cure him). Each is challenged and grows beyond himself by various trials. Admitting mistakes and then putting them right - redressing the balance - is one of the cores of the story.

So look for more excerpts - Toad has yet to wrest back his homestead, but he will do so with renewed humility (for about two seconds).

No comments: