‘The Humours’ Revisited: Kenneth Grahame's Mole, Toad, Rat and Badger. (A modern appreciation of The Wind in the Willows)
This paper investigates the four main characters of Grahame’s children’s classic according to the theory of the four humours. Mole is described as the melancholic, Toad as the sanguine, Rat as the phlegmatic and Badger as the choleric. It is an attempt to move away from the characters’ being described according to their positions in Edwardian class society, which has been the general interpretation so far. This investigation is based mainly on Hallesby’s (1940) highly practical concept of the four humours but it also takes into consideration its anthroposophical version and, where appropriate, concepts as old as the Middle Ages.
KEYWORDS: children’s literature, character, the four humours, Kenneth Grahame, society, identification