I saw a sentence in the novel of wind in the willows. I find something that I have trouble to understand, and the context is as below

'Now, you dear good old Ratty,'said the Toad, 'you know you've got to come.I can't possibly manage without you, so please consider it settled, I want to show you the world!I'm going to make an ANIMAL of you, my boy!'

Additionally I have searched on internet and found a similar phrase which is "to make an man out of you" and it means to help a man be brave, but I am not sure that I can apply the same to my case. So could anyone possibly help explain in detail what it means by saying "make an ANIMAL of you" here? And many thanks!

  • Also note.. this can have very sexually aggressive overtones sometimes but I do not believe in this case it does.
    – Tom22
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 4:22
  • I suppose it is a play on the idiom "make a man of you".
    – WS2
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 7:21
  • Undoubtedly. The characters in 'The Wind in the Willows' are animals who behave like people (anthropomorphised), so Toad, inviting Rat to join his expedition, uses an adaptation of the phrase 'make a man of you'. Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 7:46
  • Related.
    – tchrist
    Commented Feb 23 at 17:17

3 Answers 3


I guess, she means whith this phrase that she wants to let go an animal from him, an animal that hides deep down inside him, inside his nature. In another words, make him mire wild and emancipated, more free.


I think it may be intended to be similar to "make a man out of you". The characters in the story are animals, not men, so he's using a similar phrase, but he replaced "man" with "animal" to make it fit the different content. In both cases, what they mean is that you're bringing out more of the essential natur -- for a man, making them more manly (brave, violent, etc.); for an animal, making them more animal-like (fierce and wild).


Toad was always wild and willing to try anything. Ratty was more conservative and enjoyed a more controlled situation. So toad is say you are my dear friend I don't want to live without you and I'm going to take you with me and I'm gonna get you to through your inhibitions to the wind and paint the town red!

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