The Theme Of Belonging In The Wind In The Willows By Christopher Clausen

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Christopher Clausen, author of “Home and Away in Children's Fiction" argues that “[w]hen home is a privileged place, exempt from the most serious problems of life and civilization—when home is where we ought, on the whole, to stay—we are probably dealing with a story for children.” (143). Kenneth Grahame’s “The Wind in the Willows” is a classic fantasy animal narrative in children’s literature that is known for its nostalgic take on nature and it’s lavish treatment of the home, seen through the adventures of a toad, a rat, a mole, a badger and an otter. The importance of home and the theme of belonging are shown in “The Wind in the Willows” through the dangerous results of the animals wanderlust, and the homesickness shown when straying from…show more content…
Mole’s very existence in the story is as a result of his fascination with the outside world. The novel opens with a scene in Mole’s home, in which he is tiring of his spring cleaning and longing to be elsewhere, where things would perhaps be easier and more carefree. In “Utopian Homes: Criticism Beyond Itself”, Rebecca Lukens is quoted to suggest that readers of The Wind in the Willows are pleased "by discovering among other things that one loves one's home where one’s belongings are, and that even the most contented finds faraway places alluring”. (50) The pull of the outside world and lack of responsibility is too appealing to ignore for mole, and “[s]omething above was calling him imperiously” (1). The allure of the outside is stronger than Mole’s wish to stay in his humble home, so he gives up on it to go explore above ground. Whilst above ground, he meets a friend named Rat, who he eventually becomes very close with, and moves into his home. Because of the stability of Rat’s home, Mole does not yet feel any real longing or loss over his old home. Even after the adventure of leaving his old…show more content…
Fuelled by his wish to explore, Mole finally gets a chance to explore his curiousities in the Wild Wood, and the outcome is not favourable. The Wild Wood is not at all what Mole had dreamed it would be, but is rather terrifying to him. Mole finds himself lost in the wood, and describes it to be frightening; “The whole wood seemed running now, running hard, hunting, chasing, closing in round something or—somebody? In panic, he began to run too, aimlessly, he knew not whither.” (16) The bad outcome of his leaving his humble home can be seen as a lesson to readers that your home is truly where you are the most safe, and when you leave and forget about your responsibilities, danger and consequences will arise. In the fifth chapter, entitled “Dulce Domum”, meaning “sweet home”, Rat goes out and finds Mole, and they begin their trek back to Rat’s (and now Mole’s), home. While on their trip back, Mole catches a scent of his old home underground, and is stricken by a pang of overwhelming homesickness and misery. Mole insists on going back to visit

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