The Wind in the Willows Chapters 5 and 6 Summary and Analysis | GradeSaver (2024)

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Summary

Chapter 5 - "Dulce Domum"

Mid-December, Mole and Rat are traveling back from one of their many journeys when they come across a human town. They take a shortcut through a human village, and look through windows to see a number of sweet, happy scenes: people sewing, families eating, laughter, children sleeping. They feel even more drawn towards home, so hurry their pace to escape the winter weather more quickly.

Once beyond the village, though, Mole feels a familiar sense creep over him. Listening to his inner voice, he realizes that they are just minutes away from his old home, the one he left behind so long before.

Mole calls out to Rat, who is too far ahead to understand him. Feeling ignored and upset, Mole follows, unwilling to simply desert his friend. However, his feelings eventually overpower him, so that he he sits and cries. Rat finally notices Mole's pain, and walks back to ask about it. After some blubbering, Mole explains that he wants to visit his old home.

Though he initially thinks it a poor idea, Rat realizes what the detour means to Mole, and they wander until they find the home. Inside, Mole is ashamed of his humble dwelling, but Rat praises the home for its charm and efficiency. Some caroling field mice stop by, and Rat is able to scrape together a feast for everyone from Mole's cupboards.

That night, when they go to bed, Mole is happy to spend a night in his old home, but is glad to have a new life elsewhere.

Chapter 6 - "Mr. Toad"

Months later, Rat and Mole are eating breakfast when Badger stops by for an unexpected visit. He announces that the time has come for the friends to intervene in Toad's childish behavior. Rat and Mole agree.

They walk together to Toad Hall, where they see a brand new red motor car in the driveway. Badger lets himself into the house, and brings Toad into a room alone. There, Badger sternly lectures Toad on his behavior; Mole and Rat can hear Toad’s sobs through the walls. In particular, Badger wants Toad to give up on motorcars, which are dangerous, costly, and foolish.

Toad acquiesces to Badger's demands, but he recants as soon as he and Badger leave the room. He announces that he is not sorry for his behavior, and that he will never give up driving automobiles. Faced with no other choice, Badger commands Rat and Mole to lock Toad in his bedroom until his addiction subsides.

At first, Toad resists the treatment. In an effort to recreate driving, he arranges his bedroom furniture into the shape of a vehicle, and pretends to control it. Then, he pretends to wreck, and lies on the floor. His friends are so worried by the extent of his obsession that they guard him around the clock.

After a while, though, Toad seems to recover somewhat. He spends less time pretending to drive, and is visibly more relaxed. Somewhat relieved, Badger and Mole leave Rat alone for one guard shift. Unfortunately, this is just the opportunity Toad has been waiting for. He begins to act deathly ill, and begs Rat to fetch him a doctor and lawyer so he can put his affairs in order. Thinking Toad sincere, Rat leaves his post for a few minutes, and Toad uses a bedsheet rope to climb out of the window to freedom.

Once out of his home prison, Toad runs as far as he can, finally stopping for dinner at an inn. From inside, he hears the sound of a car approaching, and watches as it pulls up at the restaurant. Thinking it safe for him to simply take a look at the vehicle, he sneaks outside and sits in it. However, his addiction is too strong, and he soon enough steals the car and takes it for a joy ride.

Unfortunately, he wrecks the vehicle, and is apprehended. A judge sentences him to twenty years in prison for theft, driving recklessly, and for treating the police rudely. Toad is immediately dragged to jail, and locked away to think about his actions.

Analysis

Even though the characters enjoy going on journeys and adventures, they almost always experience a longing to return home. The most prominent manifestation of this theme in The Wind in the Willows comes in Chapter 5, when Mole feels the uncontrollable desire to return to his own house. He has been living with Rat for a while at this point, enjoying the carefree life that the river offers. Overall, it has been an adventure compared to the stifling underground life he lived before. Again, Grahame's point is that we are happiest when we accept our natural desire to live a pastoral life.

However, Mole feels an equally powerful desire to revisit the place he called home. The feeling clearly parallels that which opens the novel, suggesting that the desire for home and domesticity is equally powerful to that which draws us out towards nature. Once he feels the urge for home, he cannot control it; it overpowers him. In trying to explain the desire to Rat, he speaks of home as an anchor in his life, something that keeps him grounded because it is his own. We are both natural and domestic creatures, in Grahame's view.

Grahame's interest in domesticity is also clear in Mole's feelings about his house. Having experienced what unfiltered nature has to offer, Mole is ashamed of the hole's tight quarters, and drab atmosphere. However, Rat soon finds a way to embrace the home's domestic qualities, not only brightening it up but also preparing a meal. This is an example of how Rat exercises his mentorship. Rat sees past the hole's superficial quality in favor of recognizing its inherent domestic quality.

And one way in which Rat's overall mentorship proves its effectiveness is that Mole has been changed. While he still feels the urge to revisit his home, he also embraces his new life - of adventure, open air, and nature - as superior. It might not be the only part of his life worth loving, but it is the most important, and he owes this awareness largely to Rat's guidance. The chapter's title - "Dulce Domum" - translates roughly to "home sweet home," underscoring this message.

This same theme of mentorship carries into Chapter 6, this time between Badger and Toad. Grahame's implications of age differences are quite clear in the way Badger exerts authority over the childish Toad. It is a quite different dynamic than that between Mole and Rat, who seem to complement each other. But that distinction lies in the fact that Toad is entirely too young to actually improve his behavior yet. Because Toad is endangering his health as well as his family’s estate, and most of all because Toad has no capacity for self-awareness, Badger must quite forcefully alter Toad's mindset.

Toad’s immaturity needs to be challenged by the oldest and most steadfast animal in the group. Grahame shows us that only Badger has the strength to stand up to Toad’s whims when Rat, the other mentor of the group, fails to keep Toad locked in his bedroom. Toad knows that he can dupe Rat, because Rat is too trusting. That level of trust allows him to be a good mentor to Mole; he trusts that Mole will listen to him after making a mistake, and will consider his failings in order to grow. However, Rat naively believes that Toad is the same way. Rat is not as wise as Badger, who knows better than to trust Toad, and hence relies on lock and key as his tactic. Later, when he muses to himself about his escape, Toad mentions that Rat is not as smart or as educated as he is. Obviously, that is a silly and arrogant assertion, but it does suggest that Toad has a certain knowledge about the world that Rat lacks: some people cannot be trusted at all.

Toad firmly believes in social hierarchies, and he sees himself as being at the top of the pyramid. Because of both his wealth and his self-identified genius, Toad believes himself invincible. This thought, though, is an extremely childish and selfish one. He shows his immaturity in other ways, like when he plays car while locked in his bedroom. Rather than dealing with his obsession and realizing that his friends are trying to help him, Toad resorts to emulating the thrill of driving since he cannot enjoy the real thing. Grahame makes a gentle assertion here: too much money keeps one from realizing the truth of life. Since Toad has always been able to fulfill every whim, he does not know how to deal with disappointment or hard truths.

But moreso than money, Grahame disdains industrialism. In many ways, Toad's problem is less his immaturity and more his obsession with cars. Badger serves as a voice of reason, calling Toad’s obsession with automobiles a “poison” (74). Clearly, Grahame saw cars as a harbinger of destruction to the idyllic country life. They disrupted the peaceful quiet, and were a danger to other travelers on the roads. The real and natural world is what Toad eschews when he steals another person's car, and Grahame makes no secret of his feelings when he locks Toad away for the crime. Toad has not only stolen, but he has also betrayed his world.

The Wind in the Willows Chapters 5 and 6 Summary and Analysis | GradeSaver (2024)

FAQs

What happens in Chapter 5 of The Wind in the Willows? ›

5: Dolce domum - synopsis

Mole and Rat are returning from a winter walk when Mole suddenly catches the scent of his old home on the air and he is overcome with a desire to see it again. The Rat is initially reluctant to interrupt their journey, but then sees how important it is to Mole.

What happens in chapter 6 of Wind in the Willows? ›

6: Mr Toad - synopsis

The three friends march to Toad Hall…but discover an unrepentent Toad is unwilling to give up his love of fast cars. Consequently the friends imprison Toad in his own home until such time as he sees sense…but the cunning Toad finds a way to escape by exploiting the good nature of his captors.

Which of the following might be a major theme of chapter 5 Wind in the Willows? ›

The theme of friendship is evident in Rat and Mole's interactions. Mole's heart is divided between loyalty in following his friend and the call to go home. Rat senses his friend Mole's need to return home and acquiesces. Through cheerful talk he soothes and cheers Mole.

What is the best line from wind in the willows? ›

Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.

What happened in chapter 5 of The Hidden Life of Trees? ›

Chapter 5 Summary: “The Tree Lottery”

Wohlleben explains that trees are particularly vulnerable to insect damage after they bloom. He attributes this to their low energy levels; they expend so much energy producing their blossoms that they cannot use any more to activate their chemical defenses against the insects.

Why did Toad land in jail? ›

Toad orders lunch at The Red Lion Inn and then sees a motorcar pull into the courtyard. Taking the car, he drives it recklessly, is caught by the police, and is sent to prison for 20 years. In prison, Toad gains the sympathy of the gaoler's daughter, who helps him to escape disguised as a washerwoman.

What happened to the windmill in Chapter 6? ›

That November, a storm topples the half-finished windmill. Napoleon tells the animals that Snowball is responsible for its ruin and offers a reward to any animal who kills Snowball or brings him back alive.

What happens in chapter 6 of once? ›

Chapter 6 Summary

He thinks this must be where the Nazis are burning the Jewish books. However, he soon sees that it is a house on fire. He urinates on his hat to protect his head from the flames and approaches the conflagration in case anyone needs rescuing.

What falls from the sky in chapter 6? ›

A Body From the Sky

A man with a parachute falls from the sky. He is dead when he lands on the mountain, with his parachute still attached.

What does the windmill symbolize in the story Chapter 5? ›

The windmill itself is a symbol of technological progress. Snowball wants it to be built because he thinks it will bring to the farm a degree of self-sufficiency — which accords with the principles of Animalism.

What themes are revealed in Chapter 5 of Lord of the Flies? ›

Lord of the Flies: Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis
  • Human Nature.
  • Civilization.
  • Savagery and the "Beast"
  • Spirituality and Religion.
  • The Weak and the Strong.

What is the deeper meaning of The Wind in the Willows? ›

The Wind in the Willows celebrates nature, friendship, loyalty, and adventure. Mole's travels bring him into contact with Ratty, Badger, and Toad. Mole makes friends easily; he is a seeker, and he reminds us that too much seclusion, too much time in our “cellerages,” will dull our hearing and more.

What is the moral lesson of The Wind in the Willows? ›

While not written with a purposeful moral in mind, one can still be pulled from the book. Following its themes of nature, adventure, and friendship, the moral of The Wind in the Willows could be summarized as good friendship can overcome all obstacles.

Who is the baddie in The Wind in the Willows? ›

The Chief Weasel is the main antagonist of Kenneth Grahame's 1908 novel The Wind in the Willows.

How does The Wind in the Willows end? ›

After many further adventures, Toad is at last rescued by Rat. He learns that in his absence, Toad Hall has been taken over by weasels and stoats, but Badger knows that Toad Hall has a secret tunnel entrance, and the interlopers are evicted in a climactic battle, followed by a celebratory banquet.

What happens in the time of the butterflies chapter 5? ›

Dedé decides to participate in the resistance by doing small things, such as by helping Minerva and Lío see each other, as Mamá has forbidden them to be together. Eventually, Lío goes into hiding. Minerva won't go with him. On the night Jaimito proposes to Dedé in Papá's car.

What happens in chapter 5 of quicksand nella larsen? ›

Summary: Chapter Five

Helga arrives in Chicago and thinks about how she has no home or friends in the city. She decides to stay at the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA). She travels to her Uncle Peter's home to surprise him. Helga is greeted rudely by an unfamiliar maid and told that Uncle Peter (Mr.

What did Ratty say to Mole? ›

Believe me my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” So says Ratty to Mole in Kenneth Grahame's classic novel 'The Wind in the Willows'.

Why did Toad's friends lock him in his room? ›

He refuses to change his behavior, so they lock him in his room and promise to keep an eye on him until his craze for motor cars passes. The Toad spends his time pretending to drive and crash imaginary cars that he has made using chairs. One day, the Water Rat is left alone with the Toad, whose attitude has changed.

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