Wind in the Willows

jenne at jenne at
Sun Jul 6 12:38:18 EDT 2003

> Well, he perhaps *felt* they were hunting him - but if they had been doing
> so
> seriously Ratty would have found little more than a well-chewed mole carcass
> on his arrival, and we'd have been in quite a different kind of book! Giving
> him a fright seems nearer the mark, possibly preparatory to relieving him of
> his keys and pocket book.

Intimidation, then.

> This episode always reminds me more (I don't say 'means' or 'represents',
> mind - I'm just giving my impressions) of a naive chap who wanders into a
> rough part of town and loses his way: it conveys vividly the disorientation,
> the way everything can suddenly seem threatening. A bit like I imagine I'd
> feel if I suddenly found myself in South Central LA, perhaps, or (an apter
> example) when those Psammead children find themselves (as I think they do at
> one point, though it may be the Bastables) in a dodgy part of the East End.

I think the difference between getting into a poor neighborhood and a bad
neighborhood is generally quite marked. And not by race or anything like
that... This wasn't just 'a poor neighborhood' it was someplace where, if
they choose, the residents could and would do something violent-- and were
probably leading up to it, while relishing the terror they could inspire.
At best, we're talking about bullies.

When you compare Toad and the Stoats to grown-ups, I think that may be
what is over-emphasizing the class distinctions. These are little boys in
fur suits. Stoats and Weasels are bullies. Toad is loveable to his friends
but quite clearly needs to reform-- but before he does, he gets to do a
number of things that little boys would happily do. On the other hand,
little boys do have a strong sense of property when they themselves are
relieved of it, so the imprisonment makes less of an impact that the scold
for loosing Ratty's boat.

> I think her fate was much more uncertain - and that though this was indeed
> the outcome they were hoping for, they didn't hope with any great
> confidence.

If she was turned out, her niece could have sold the gold watch and chain
and used it to help her aunt get established elsewhere. ;)

-- Pani Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, Knowledge Pika   jenne at
"I know. You know I know. I know you know I know. We know Henry knows, and
Henry knows we know it. *smiles* We're a knowledgable family." -- _Lion in

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