Saturday, August 14, 2010

The last of the read along questions....

1) In Chapter 9, a restless Rat meets a Seafaring Rat who entices him with the lure of the open sea and of travelling. Entranced, Rat starts to leave with him, but is hindered by Mole. What did you think of this scene, and what did you think of Mole’s cure for his wanderlust? I actually thought this chapter was really bizarre, and it it kind of interrupted the flow of the book for me. Of all the characters that would be enticed this way, I would not have thought it of Rat. I think Mole did the best he could, and the only thing he knew to do. After all, it's what they tried to do to keep Toad in check. But this chapter disturbed me. I didn't like it. Especially when he changed Rat's eye color. It was almost as if he were trying to get us to buy into the fact that Rat got possessed by the seafaring rat. Yech.

2) Chapter 10 is the Further Adventures of Toad where he lies, cheats, steals, and makes his way home. What did you think of his adventures, and do you think he’s grown or changed at the end of this chapter? STILL not enjoying Toad. I don't think Toad will ever change or grow up. He's too selfish to do so.

3) In Chapter 11, Rat tells Toad, “Now, Toady, I don't want to give you pain, after all you've been through already; but, seriously, don't you see what an awful ass you've been making of yourself? On your own admission you have been handcuffed, imprisoned, starved, chased, terrified out of your life, insulted, jeered at, and ignominiously flung into the water--by a woman, too! Where's the amusement in that? Where does the fun come in?” and Toad’s response is, perhaps surprisingly, “Now, it was a very comforting point in Toad's character that he was a thoroughly good-hearted animal and never minded being jawed by those who were his real friends. And even when most set upon a thing, he was always able to see the other side of the question. So although, while the Rat was talking so seriously, he kept saying to himself mutinously, `But it WAS fun, though! Awful fun!' and making strange suppressed noises inside him, k-i-ck-ck-ck, and poop-p-p, and other sounds resembling stifled snorts, or the opening of soda-water bottles, yet when the Rat had quite finished, he heaved a deep sigh and said, very nicely and humbly, `Quite right, Ratty! How SOUND you always are! Yes, I've been a conceited old ass, I can quite see that; but now I'm going to be a good Toad, and not do it any more.” – he resolves to return to Toad Hall but is thwarted by the fact that it was taken over by stroats and weasels. The rest of the chapter involves plans to reclaim Toad Hall by our crew of four. What do you think of Toad’s response to Rat? What do you think of the preparations for the “big battle?” Once a Toad, always a Toad? Though he seemed miserable during his whole 'adventure' away from home, he was, sub-conciously, thrilled at having another tale to tell his friends at home. He was miserable, I suspect, at the prospect that he might not make it home to TELL them. Once he did, of course he is going to consider it a fun adventure. Because if it wasn't fun to go adventure, then he'd have to settle down, wouldn't he?
As far as the battle for Toad Hall, I think it was something thrown in so the friends could have one, last Hurrah together before the book ended.

4) Chapter 12 is the climatic battle, and resolution. What do you think of this chapter? Is it a satisfying ending to this situation? I guess so. But I have to admit, by the end of this book, I was kind of disappointed. I had a hard time getting through the last few chapters, especially after the odd Ratty gets possessed chapter.

5) Our book ends “After this climax, the four animals continued to lead their lives, so rudely broken in upon by civil war, in great joy and contentment, undisturbed by further risings or invasions. Toad, after due consultation with his friends, selected a handsome gold chain and locket set with pearls, which he dispatched to the gaoler's daughter with a letter that even the Badger admitted to be modest, grateful, and appreciative; and the engine-driver, in his turn, was properly thanked and compensated for all his pains and trouble. Under severe compulsion from the Badger, even the barge-woman was, with some trouble, sought out and the value of her horse discreetly made good to her; though Toad kicked terribly at this, holding himself to be an instrument of Fate, sent to punish fat women with mottled arms who couldn't tell a real gentleman when they saw one. The amount involved, it was true, was not very burdensome, the gipsy's valuation being admitted by local assessors to be approximately correct.

Sometimes, in the course of long summer evenings, the friends would take a stroll together in the Wild Wood, now successfully tamed so far as they were concerned; and it was pleasing to see how respectfully they were greeted by the inhabitants, and how the mother-weasels would bring their young ones to the mouths of their holes, and say, pointing, `Look, baby! There goes the great Mr. Toad! And that's the gallant Water Rat, a terrible fighter, walking along o' him! And yonder comes the famous Mr. Mole, of whom you so often have heard your father tell!' But when their infants were fractious and quite beyond control, they would quiet them by telling how, if they didn't hush them and not fret them, the terrible grey Badger would up and get them. This was a base libel on Badger, who, though he cared little about Society, was rather fond of children; but it never failed to have its full effect.” What did you think of this ending? And, what did you think of the book overall? I thought the end was kind of weak. I don't believe for a minute that Toad could settle down and not cause trouble. I would bet money that Mole would eventually find his way back to his snug warren, and visit often. And I feel like the Badger character got lost towards the end. He just seemed grumpy and unhappy to me. The end of this book, for me, was anti climactic.

6) The delightful Grace passed along this article about Kenneth Grahame After learning more about his life, does it alter or change your opinion of the book? I can't open the article, so I am at a loss for this one

7) Anything I’ve missed? Still don't think so


sybil law said...

Yep - there are simply some Toads in the world that won't ever change. You know they just THINK he's changed when in actuality, he's got some scam going on, somehow.

Mimi said...

Thank you, I greatly enjoyed you coming along on the ride!

I agree with Sybil, I think that there are toads amongst us, and I kind of need to get over my need to make everyone nice and polite.