Glossary entry for
Piper at the Gates of Dawn

The song title "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" comes from a chapter of the same name in Kenneth Grahame's children's classic The Wind in the Willows.

Kenneth Grahame was born Mar. 8, 1859 and died July 6, 1932. He was a Scottish author best known for The Wind in the Willows, which he completed in 1908. He wrote the book for his only son, Alastair, while Kenneth was serving as a secretary of the Bank of England. He wrote only three other books: Pagan Papers (1893), personal essays that reflect his private frustrations, and the short-story collections The Golden Age (1895) and Dream Days (1898). Noted for its graceful charm, this book reveals the conflict between Grahame's aristocratic background and the new social concerns.

The major theme of the story is the struggle between the noisy, common way of life and the quiet and genteel. The Wild Wooders, including the stoats and the weasels, epitomize the former, while the River-Bankers, including Badger, Mole, Rat, and Toad, represent the latter. Toad is a lovable rebel who does not fit well into either camp. Structurally, the fantasy is a small epic in prose paralleling to some degree the events in Homer's Odyssey.

Contributed by Craig Nowack

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