Some Thoughts on the common toad


What are Orwell's views on the importance of natur

The Importance of nature:

  • Universal
  • Something we can all take pleasure in

Concept: The seasons have always had a great importance to agrarian societies, which has led to universal symbolism

1 of 7

Significance of Spring in 1946 and who is Persepho

  • First spring following the end of WW2
  • Rebuiliding life
  • Hope


  • Daughter of Dimita (goddess of the world)
  • Autumn and winter spent underground (sad, as mother mourning)
  • Spring and summer brings hope and happiness for her 
2 of 7

Key Quotations to describe the toad

  • "salutes the coming of spring after his own fashion"
  • "one of the phenomena of spring which most deeply appeal to me"
  • "...the toad has a very spiritual look, like a strict Anglo-catholic towards the end of lent"
3 of 7

The Toad + types of repetition

  • a common sight for everyone to enjoy
  • an interesting phenomena
  • toads don't get enough attention ('much of a boost') from poets- under appreciated
  • larks and primrose are seen as more beautiful
  • Orwell using aesthetic enthusiasm to show the beauty of toads
  • continually depicted as ugly/ associated with evil

Types of repetition:

  • Epistrophe- repetition of words at the end of successive sentences
  • anaphora- repetition of words at the start of successive sentences or clauses
  • Epizeuxis- repetition of words in succession within a sentence

At the behinning, Orwell uses anaphora to emphasise the prominence of the toad, greater significance and sign of spring 

4 of 7


  • Orwell loved the natural world from his childhood in Henley-on-Thames and on the south downs at Eastbourne
  • Orwell has been disappointed by earlier letters of complaint to Tribune, when he ventured into nature related topics instead of hard politics. An "as I please" article published on 21st January 1944 referring to rambler roses he'd planted at the cottage he lived in before the war had brought correspondence criticising his bourgeois nostalgia
5 of 7

What arguments against Orwell's 'sentimentality' o

  • He is encouraging, or demonstrating, political quietism
  • He is being 'backward looking' by favouring nature to machines
  • To love the country, you need to live in a town
  • To encourage people to appreciate nature and find contentment in it rather than always wanting more 
6 of 7

How does Orwell end his essay with a strong argume

  • Spring is unstoppable
  • Spring is an escape from all the stressful things - juxtaposition
  • Emphasis on how normalized the desire for leaders to have control is
  • Nature doesn't care about politics


  • Smug
  • snide
  • defiance

Techniques used:

  • hyperbole
  • list of three
7 of 7


No comments have yet been made

Similar English Literature resources:

See all English Literature resources »See all George Orwells Essays resources »