Watership Down By Richard Adams English Literature Essay
The book I choose to read for my fall semester book report was Watership Down by Richard Adams. I decided on this book because I had heard about it before and had the impression that it was a classic and interesting book to read. The other reason for choosing this book was because I had already read many of the books on the book list and I wanted to read something new.
In chapters 1-5 of Watership Down we are introduced to some of the main characters of the book, Hazel and Fiver. Both Hazel and Fiver are rabbits but they talk to each other just as humans do, they are also brothers and have a sense of obligation to a family just as humans do. The book also describes them with human-like qualities and personalities. When we meet Hazel and Fiver they are in a field eating, when they stumble upon what is described by Richard Adams to be a housing construction site. Hazel and Fiver try to decipher the sign with lines on it, but Fiver goes into a panic and they quickly leave the site back to the warren, their home. The rabbits seem to have their own politics just as humans do; they have rankings of rabbits based on size and weight. There is the chief rabbit that overlooks the warren, and then there are the “Oswala” which is to the rabbits what the National Guard or the army is to humans. That night Fiver has a nightmare and tells Hazel that they must tell the chief, Threarah, of their discovery and that great danger will befall the warren if the rabbits do not leave. Here we meet Bigwig who is a rabbit in the Oswala and protects the chief. Fiver explains to the chief the premonition in his nightmare but is ignored and Bigwig is scolded for letting the brothers interrupt the chief’s sleep. The next day Hazel and Fiver are discussing the conversation with the chief with Blackberry and Dandelion, their friends, when Bigwig shows up and explains he has left the Oswala and wants to leave the warren with them and that they will try to convince other rabbits to come. In Watership Down the rabbits seem to have a sense of community and friendship just as humans do. The group that decides to leave consists of 11 rabbits Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig, Pipkin, Dandelion, Hawkbit, blackberry, Buckhorn, Silver, Acorn, and Speedwell. As they gather the leader of the Oswala comes to arrest the group thinking they want to overthrow the chief, but Bigwig attacks and forces the Oswala to retreat, and the group leaves. All the rabbits have their own names just as humans but so far the book has not mentioned any last names, rabbits are identified by what “burrow” they live in. The “burrow” is each rabbit’s home. It also seems that the rabbits have their own laws and the Oswala serve as a police force who arrest rabbits who break those laws. Just as humans arrest criminals. In the fifth chapter the group is slowly crawling through the woods, they seem to have given Hazel the role of the leader and have a structured pecking order, the biggest rabbits at the top. Hazel realizes the group is tense and nervous and tells Dandelion to tell them a story as they rest.
Chapters 6-10 begin with Dandelion telling the story of El-ahrairah, the rabbit folk hero. El-ahrairah is described as the rabbits Robin Hood and is a story that the rabbits base their religion on, and describes the creation of the Earth and the animals, just as the Bible does for humans. While Dadelion is telling the story to the group a badger appears out of the bush and frightens the rabbits away. It appears that the rabbits in this story have their own language and that they cannot talk to other animals just as humans. As the rabbits are running away they stumble apon a river and Fiver decides that they need to cross but only the strongest rabbits can swim. Bigwig travel across the river first to make sure it is safe, Bigwig comes back with the news that there is big dog in the woods and that it is headed their way. Hazel decides they must cross but Pipkin is injured and cannot swim. Blackberry then comes up with the idea of puttin Pipkin on a piece of wood and floating him across when he saw a piece of plywood on top of the water and deducted that if you put something on top of that wood it would float as well. The other rabbits are appalled and say that rabbit’s can not float but with little options they go through with the plan and they all get across safely. Blackberry’s discovery mystifies the other rabbits, except for Fiver who understand wht happened. This shows that the rabbits are capable of reasoning and inventing new ideas even if their society is underdeveloped it is a parallel with humans and the thirst for knowledge.
In chapters 11 to 15, The more you get into the story the more it sounds like the rabbits are people who are fleeing their homes because of religious persecution or war. Throughout chapter 11 the rabbits travel through rough terrain until they come to the perfect field. As the rabbits are eating they start building holes to stay in but it is mentioned that bucks (male rabbits) do not usually build the burrows, usually it is the does (female rabbits). This is an example of how the rabbit’s culture is similar to our own where there are different jobs for males and females and there is sexism in their society just as there is in our own. They soon see a strange rabbit watching them and eventually Hazel and Blackberry go out to meet him. Just like in human society Richard Adams mentions that the rabbits have their own ways of greeting one another, sometimes it is formal and sometimes it is and informal greeting. The strange rabbit is uncommonly healthy and has a distinct “healthy smell” as well a shiny coat. He introduces himself as Cowslip and Hazel finds his manner of speaking and actions strange. This is an example of the blending of cultures between two rabbit societies in which both parties find the other strange. This is similar to what happens when two human cultures interact and is usually reacted to with acceptance or violence. Cowslip invites the group back to his warren and runs off before the storm comes. It is decided that the rabbits will go to the warren, but Fiver is reluctant and believes they should stay away. As Hazel and the group enter Cowslip’s warren they notice it is different from their own. They find that this warren has no chief and does not fear predators because there are none. As the rabbits mingle Hazel meets Strawberry who shows Hazel stone artwork that perplexes him. Hazel has never heard of rabbits creating art and also realizes Strawberry will not answer any question beginning with “where”. The rabbits discover many new things about the strange warren and their culture. For the first time they hear a rabbit laugh which frightens them. The group sleeps in the warren for the night and a woken to Strawberry who tells them that there is “good food” outside (carrots) and that when they go to collect it they usually carry the food back in their mouths and store it in the burrows. Fiver becomes angry and says there is something unnatural to the stranger’s methods. So far in the book it seems this strange warren is a rabbit utopia, humans kills all the predators and leaves carrots out for the rabbits, but Fiver knows there is something suspicious about the humans and does not trust it. Bigwig becomes angry with Fiver and says that they can live just as happily as Cowslip and his warren. When all the rabbits gather they ask for a story so Dandelion decides to tell “The Story of the Kings Lettuce”. Dandelion and the others are happy to share a story from their own warren because they believed themselves to be the best storytellers and wanted to show that to Cowslip and his warren. This is another example of how the rabbits cultural intermingling is to our own, they are competing and each side believes themselves to be better and to prove that they come from the better team. “The Story of the Kings Lettuce” is again about the rabbit’s religious idol El-ahrairah and how rabbits came to use tricks and cunning to survive.
In chapters 16 to 20, After Dandelion has told his story they are sure it will impress the other warren, because it is a classic story and he had told it very well. The other warren is not impressed though and say that they do not tell those types of stories anymore and belive rabbits need dignity, not tricks. It seems that the two warrens have different values and how the life of a rabbit should be lived as well. Then a rabbit named Silverweed goes on to reciet a poem, something Hazel and the others had never heard before, and are impressed. Fiver thinks the poem is a monstrosity and starts insulting the other rabbits. After Hazel and Fiver left the burrow Bigwig becomes angry and says that Fiver could have detroyed their relationship with Cowslip and the others. The next morning Hazel wakes up to find Fiver leaving the warren with or without the others. Hazel tries to convice Fiver to come back and Bigwig becomes angry and says that Fiver is just trying to get everyone to follow him. As Bigwig turns to go back to the warren he gets got in a snare. While Bigwig is struggling and choking he tells the others that they have to dig out the peg in the ground. This trap was obviously set by humans who play a big role in this book. It seems that not only do the rabbits have to fear predators but also human traps that they have no way to protect themselves from. Fiver then runs for help and Blackberry comes and is able to figure out how to get Bigwig out of the trap, but by that time Bigwig has stopped moving. Blackberry then explains that Cowslip and the others refused to come and help and even ignored him completely. Bigwig angrly gets up and says he will kill Cowslip. As everyone goes off to kill the other rabbits Fiver calmes them down and tells them he has figured out why this warren is so strange. The snares are there for the rabbits by the farmer that feeds them. The rabbits know about the snares but ignore them in favor of creating art and poetry. The warren is a death trap, and no rabbit will answer a question starting with where because they do not want to face the truth as to why so many rabbits go missing and sacrifice their friends for food. This is a rabbit farm that the farmers use to easily captur the rabbits, the man feeds them only to fatten them up before killing them, and he only kills a fewe at a time. The rabbits only have the illusion of freedom. As Hazel and the others begin to leave Strawberry, from Cowslips warren, runs up and begs Hazel to take him with them. The gang no longer questions Fivers intuition, and after travelin a few miles come across a barn where they are attacked by rats. But under Bigwigs guidence they fight them off. Then they come across empty rabbit holes and decide to sleep there. The next morning Blackberry suggests that they build a warren for themselves and as they are digging they hear a frighting noise. They run into their burrows and something calls out to Bigwig. As they look out the holes they see a bloodied rabbit crawling towards them. Tey recognize this rabbit as Captain Holly of the Oswla. While helping Holly into the burrow Hazel realized that the smell of blood will attract predators. Then another rabbit appers who turns out to be Captain Holly’s friend Bluebell. The next day the gang countinues building their new warren, and Hazel decides that he wants a grand burrow like the one at Cowslip’s warren. It seems our rabbits are adopting new ways of living by what they have learned from the other warren, just like people do when two different human cultures start adopting each others methods of living. Strawberry then becomes the architect, taking control of the building process and using his knowledge from his warren in building the new one. They decide to call the new warren Honeycomb. Hazel then saves a mouse from a falcon by giving it protection in one of their burrows. The mouse promises to return the favor to Hazel for saving his life. To the shock of the others Hazel says that he thinks it is a good idea to live in cooperation with other animals.
In chapters 21 to 25, After Holly has recovered he explains to the other rabbits that after they left the Threarah said that even if Fiver was right in his prmonition it would be too much work to move the entire warren. Threarah decided it would be best to hide from the dangers by staying underground than by moving. Holly explained that one day as he was going back to the warren he saw men with guns. The men filled in many of the rabbit holes and then flooded the warren with poisonius gas. I suspect the men are trying to exterminate the rabbits to be able to build on the land. Men have a trumendous effect on the lives of wild animals, especially when it comes to construction. Men have to kill animals or chase them out of their homes to make room for our own. Men do not think of rabbits as sentient beings, rather they think of them as animals or pests that need to be detroyed to make room for their own plans. Bluebell was inside the warren when all of this happened and describes what it was like inside. There was complete chaos but Bluebell managed to find a path that went far down into the earth and then back up into a forest. With him was another rabbit named Pimpernel who was having a hard time breathing because of the gas. Holly then explained that before they escaped a big plow came and destroyed the field. This whole time the rabbits have no understanding of what is going on and how rabbits could have been killed without even beeing touched by a human, or how a loud “one clawed” animal could have destroyed the earth. The rabbits could not have been prepared for the most dangerous predator, only humans have the power to anniahlate that many animals. Holly then took the other two rabbits, Pimpernel and Bluebell, and follow the path that Hazel took. When they got to Cowslip’s warren of snares they were attacked and Pimpernel was killed in the fight. Before killing Cowslip, Holly was told where to find Hazel, and then after days of traveling and hallucinating was able to find the Honeycomb. After they eat Bluebell tells a story about El-ahrairah that took place after Dandelion’s story about the king’s lettuce. Prince Rainbow wanted to put El-ahrairah back in his place, so he brought a rabbit named Hufsa to live with him and made Rabscuttle live somewhere else. Hufsa spoiled all of El-ahrairah's plans by secretly telling Prince Rainbow about them. El- ahrairah finally tricked Hufsa into looking like a fool, and managed to steal Prince Rainbow's new carrots in the process. He went with Hufsa to steal the carrots, but made so many other animals do so many strange things along the way that no one believed Hufsa's story at the trial. The jury, made up entirely of elil—the enemies of rabbits—acquitted El-ahrairah, and Prince Rainbow took Hufsa away. The next day Bigwig and Silver fing and injured bird in a bush. The bird is a Seagull and they had never seen one before and do not know if it is dangerous or not. When Hazel goes to speak with the bird it is aggressive but they find out that it is also hungry. After bringing the Sagull snails Hazel trys to convince it that they just ant to help, but the bird refuses and tells them to leave. Hazel goes back that afternoon and convinces the bird to stay in their warren for protection. The seagull becomes much friendlier and especially likes Bigwig. Bigwig finds out that the bird was attacked by a cat and whos name id Kehaar. Kehaar explains that he comes from a place where the land ends and becomes “big water”, the rabbits are sure he is lying. Hazel comes up with a plan to find some does for the warren, but they need Kehaar’s help, otherwise building the warren would have be in vain. A bird can travel much farthur and much faster than a rabbit, and he wants Kehaar to find does for their warren. Kehaar agrees and returns to the rabbits a few days later explining that he found some does not too far away. The only problem is that they are not wild rabbits and are penned up on a farm. There is also another warren with many does, but it is very far away and will take a few days to reach. Holly, Silver, Buckthorn, and Strawberry agree to go to the warren the next morning. Hazel decides that even though it will be very dangerous they should try to get the does from the farm. Hazel takes only Pipkin with him and does not tell the others. They find that the farm rabbits are inside a shed and that there are many cats roaming. Hazel talkes to the farm rabbits and meets Boxwood who tells them that there are two does and two bucks. Hazel says he wants to recruit them into the warren and promises to be back to free them and whoever wants to go can go. When Fiver finds out that Hazel went to the farm he becomes angry and says that Hazel is just trying to show off. Bigwig is excited to go back and is able to convince Blackberry to go along as well, he will be needed to figure out how to open the cage. Dandelion, speedwell, and Hawbit agree to go as well. Fiver warns Hazel that he forsees danger and begs them not to go. The next night they leave for the farm, where they come across another cat, but Bigwig fights it and is able to chase it off. Blackberry figures out a way to open the cage, but the farm rabbits are too afraid to leave. Boxwood and Clover move quickly but two drag behind, Haystack and Laurel. A dog begins barking and all the rabbits run off except Haystack and Laurel who are frozen if fear. Hazel and Dandelion go back to save the other two, but then a car shows up. Haystack gets away but Laurel is grabbed by men. Hazel, Dandelion, and Haystack get stuck in a ditch and Hazel runs out to distact the men so the others can get away. Hazel is shot and wounded, but as the men search for him he figures out a way to crawl up a drain and hide. When Hazel does not return the other rabbits search for him, but they find blood and men’s footsteps. They go back to tell Fiver, but Fiver says he already knows from a vision he had. Later that night Holly returns with Strawberry and Silver but no does.
In chapters 26 to 30, Fiver has a dream that shows him that Hazel is still alive. Fiver tells Blackberry to take him to the place where Hazel was shot. Whenthey get to the drain, Fiver looks in and sees that Hazel is barley alive. The other rabbits not knowing that Hazel is still alive are usure of what to do without their leader. Holly then tells the others what happened at the other warren and why they did not bring any does back with them. As they neared the warren they came across another rabbit who told them not to go to Efrafa, the name of the warren. Then three big rabbits jumped out of the bushes and escorted Holly and the others into Efrafa. Holly learns that the Owsla in Efrafa are in complete control along with a council of advisors who have a leader named General Woundwort. Each rabbit born in Efrafa are marked at birth and then placed in a group with that similar mark. A rabbit with a specific mark can only stay in that group and are only allowed above ground when the group is allowed. The warren is designed to avoid detection from predators especially humans. The Owsla run patrols that go long distances to scout for any dangers to the warren as well as finding escaped rabbits and brining them back to Efrafa. Holly finds out from the other rabbits in the warren that Efrafa is overcrowded. When Holly is brought to the council to explain how his warren needed does the council refused even though Efrafa was overcrowded with too many does. General Woundwort then explained that they are not allowed to leave and Holly relized that they were prisoners, not guests. The way Efrafa is run is exactly like a prison and no rabbit is allowed to leave, even if they decided to move far away. Rabbits in Efrafa are told how to live their lives, when to eat, when to sleep, and where they live. They get ultimate protection as long as they give up their freedoms. It is a very hierachial way of living and the only way of being happy is by becoming part of a small privliged group of the elite. Efrafa is a totaltarian warren. Holly finds a way to escape and are persued by the Owsla. Holly and the other were almost caught until they crossed the railroad track and the train came through. Holly is in awe of the train and frozen in fear. His only explaination is the train is a giany hrududu sent by Lord Frith to save them. After that they make their way back to the warren only to learn that Hazel was killed. Black berry arrives to tell the others that Hazel is actually alive and that Fiver used magic to find him. Hazel is wounded and has a hard time healing but Kehaar knows why and pulls the shotgun pellets from Hazel’s leg. After resting Hazel decides that they need to go back to Efrafa to get does and tells Blackberry to come up with a plan. Hazel tells the other Honeycomb rabbits about his plan but Holly is against it and says going back to Efrafa would mean death, but Fiver says he will go and thinks the plan will work. Bigwig is also going and Kehaar says he will go if Bigwig goes. Silver and Pipkin volunteer as well. Kehaar says this will be the last thing he does for the rabbits before he returns to the ocean, but promises to be back again. The rabbits set off for Efrafa and when they stop for the night they ask Dandelion to tell them another story.
In chapters 31 to 35, Dandelion tells the story of when King Darzin sent his soldiers to get rid of El-ahrairah once and for all. The soldiers attacked the rabbits as soon as they came out of their holes, and soon all of El-ahrairah's people were miserable and dying. El-ahrairah could not figure out a way to get rid of King Darzin, and he realized he needed help from the Black Rabbit of Inle, an immortal rabbit appointed by Lord Frith to determine the deaths of all rabbits. El-ahrairah wanted to offer the Black Rabbit his own life in exchange for help for his people.After a long journey up a mountain with his friend Rabscuttle, El-ahrairah came to the dwelling of the Black Rabbit and tried to bargain with him, but the Black Rabbit would not accept his offer. El-ahrairah tried to trick the Black Rabbit, but he lost his whiskers, his tail, and his ears in the process. Finally, the Black Rabbit told El-ahrairah to leave, and said that he had already gotten rid of King Darzin's soldiers. When they finally returned, the warren was bigger and the younger rabbits knew nothing about the war with King Darzin. El-ahrairah sat to think, and Lord Frith came to talk to him, telling him that wisdom is not easy, and brought him a tail, whiskers, and a pair of ears with starlight in them. Just then, Pipkin interrupts the story to tell the others that there is a fox approaching. The Black Rabbit of Inle is similar to our devil or the grim reaper an shows that the rabbits have similar religions to the people and that there is and afterlife that the rabbits belive in. As our rabbits prepare to run from the fox, Bigwig rushes into a bush, his action gets the fox’s attention. The others hear a rabbit scream and Bigwig comes rushing back out. He explains that the scream wasn’t his and as he was rushing into the bush there were three other rabbits that he knocked down and the fox must have gotten one of them. The next mornig Kehaar comes to tell the group that a patrol is nearby and that they need to hide. They cross the iron road and sleep for the night. The next day Hazel asks Kehaar to take them to the river which is huge and leaves the rabbits in awe. Kehaar leads them to a brige whicch the rabbits are reluctant to go across, but Fiver convinces them that it is safe. Blackberry and Hazel explore the other side of the river to figure out the last steps in their plans. They soon come across a boat that Kehaar has to explian, and Blackberry comes up with a plan for using the boat. The next chapter is from General Woundworts point of view and eplains that he is a huge fearless rabbit who craves power which is why he decided to create Efrafa. General Woundwort is angry that Holly was able to get away, hurting the honor of his Owsla and killing one of his good captains who was run over by a train. It seems that even rabbits, like humans, can grow corrupt and hunger for power. It also explains that the fox that went after Bigwig killed another one of his officers instead. Soon Captain Campion comes to let General Woundwort know that a rabbit wants to join the Efrafa. The rabbit is Bigwig, and Woundwort makes him an officer. Bigwig learns about the Efrafa security and belives that breaking out is almost impossible. He meets a rabbit named Blackavar, who was almost able to get away but was caught by Captain Campion, then the council ripped out his ears and puts him on public demonstration to show the othe rabbits of Efrafa what happens when you try to escape. Bigwig decides that if they try to escape he will bring Blackavar with him. Bigwig meets Hyzenthlay a doe that Holly had met in his time at Efrafa. Bigwig explains that he is trying to break out some of the does and wants Hyzenthlay to spread the word.
In chapters 36 to 40, While Bigwig is gaurding the eating rabbits, Kehaar flys down and Bigwig talks to him. Kehaar says the rabbits must be ready to leave at sunset and that they must attack the sentries. Bigwig goes to tell Hyzenthlay to make sure everyone is prepared, but as Bigwig is ready to make the escape General Woundwort calls him aside to talk to him. One of the patrols that was attacked by the fox that was after Bigwig recognized him and Woundwort became suspicious. Woundwort asks him if he knows anything about the other rabbits, but Bigwig says that he only saw their tracks but did not know what way they were going. Woundwort belives Bigwig and tells him to keep and eye on Hyzenthlay because he belives there will be trouble soon. Hazel and the others wait for Bigwig but when he does not show up they become worried and relize something must have gone wrong. Bigwig is also concerned that with all Hyzenthlay’s talk one of the rabbits will give up their plan. Bigwig finds a way to communicate with Kehaar by using an unitelligent rabbit as his pawn. He is able to tell Kehaar to come back later that night, and Bigwig tells Blackavar to be ready that night. Hazel gets Bigwigs message and prepares for the upcoming night. Hyzenthlay wakes Bigwig when he his sleeping and tells him that a doe has been arrested. Bigwig realizes that they need to leave right now and goes to get Blackavar, then Bigwig, Blackavar and the does all make their escape and when Bigwig hears stamping knows that the gaaurds have spotted their escape. When General Woundwort finds out what happened he immediately takes off after them and quickly catches up. When a fight is about to break out, lightning flashes and while everyone is stunned it begins to rain. At that moment Kehaar comes out of nowhere and attacks, he is soon followed by Hazel and the others who take the does and retreat torwards the river. When they get to the river all the rabbits get on the boat except for Dandelion who is hiding in bushes and Woundwort is about to kill him. As Hazel prepares to leave Bigwig says he will not leave without Kehaar and jumps off the boat distracting Woundwort, Dandelion and Bigwig manage to escape and jump on the boat, the rope breaks and the rabbits escape down the river. As the rabbits float down the river Kehaar tells them that there is a brige coming and they barley manage to fit under it, but one of the does is injured in the process. They come across another brige that stops the boat, the rabbits do not know what to do until a group of men pass over the boat. All the rabbits jump out of the boat and swim to shore. It seems that the boat is what saved the rabbits lives when escaping from Woundwort and even though it was made from man the rabbits were not afraid in using it. During the night the doe that was injured going under the brige had died. Hazel and Bigwig then say goodbye to Kehaar who leaves for the ocean promising to return in the winter. The rabbits then head for home and find out that Blackavar, because of his Efrafa training is a very good tracker and at one point Hazel decides they should rest for the day but Blackavar disagrees and says they shoulkd keep moving because he senses a fox. Hazel does not heed his warning and Fiver does not feel any danger. Two days later a fox grabs oe of the does. They are then found by Captain Campion who trys to get them to surrender, but he is out numbered. Hazel leaves him without a fight but Blackavar says they shouold kill him so he cannot report back to Efrafa, but Hazel keeps Captain Campion alive. Captain Campion then follows the rabbits to their warren and heads back to Efrafa.
In chapters 41 to 45, The warren is now composed of sixteen bucks and ten does, everyone lives comfortably and are happy to get back to living normal lives. The rabbits are unconcerned that General Woundwort might retaliate against their warren. Dandelion decides to tell another story, the story of the time El-ahrairah and Rabscuttle played a trick on Rowsby Woof, a vicious dog, so that they could get food. El-ahrairah dressed up and pretended to be the Fairy Wogdog, a spirit sent by the Dog Queen. El-ahrairah and Rabscuttle got their food and left Rowsby Woof convinced that he saved both his master and the Fairy Wogdog from an evil rat spirit. Whe Dandelion finshes his story he and Hazel go to take over sentry from acorn, they are then visited by Hazel’s mouse friend who tells them that a group of rabbits are gathering close by. Hazel then tells Holly and Blackavar to check. They come back with news that a raiding party from Efrafa has come. Hazel comes up with a plan to fill the entrances of all the holes leaving only one open so that the enemy will have to dig to get inside the warren. Hazel then leaves Bigwig in charge while he goes to talk to General Woundwort. Woundwort explains that he was stripped of his rank after the escape and wants revenge. Hazel makes Woundwort an offer to set up a warren between Honycomb and Efrafa that is inhabited by the two warrens. After much convincing Woundwort accepts his offer, but says that if Blackavar and Bigwig are not waiting when he gets there he will kill all the bucks. As Hazel and Bigwig disscuss what to do next Fiver screams and Hazel has a vision that he needs to release the dog from the farm, he quickly leaves with Blackberry and Dandelion. Hazel and Dandelion knaw at the dogs leash, but a cat appears and Hazel stamps to warn Dandelion, but as the cat pounces the dog jumps up and breaks the leash and runs off. Hazel falls from the top of the kennel and when he looks up sees the cat looking down at him.
In chapters 46 to the Epilouge, Woundwort prepares to attack the Honeycomb, Bigwig has trouble waking up Fiver so he leaves him on the otherside of the warren. Woundwort thinks Fiver is dead and leaves him alone. Woundwort then brings recruits and is the first one to step into the hall, Bigwig who is hiding jumps out and bits Woundwort deep in his leg. Woundwort soon has the upperhand and just as he is about to kill Bigwig his leg gives out. While this is happening Dandelion tries to lead the dog to the warren by getting the dog to follow him. General Woundwort has lost most of his strength due to his leg, he then tells his rabbits to retreat but when the reach the surface Captain Campion comes running torwards them telling them to flee. The dog appears but General Woundwort tells his soilders to stand their ground. Hazel was clever here in trying to defeat Woundwort not just by brute strength but by intelligence and using what resources he had, this is similar to ways humans might plan attacks and they try to consider everypossibility especially those that have the least casualties. Chapter 48 is from Lucy’s point of view. Lucy is a little girl who lives on the farm and wakes up to hear squeling and saves Hazel from the cat. She shows Hazel to the doctor on the farm, just as the dog comes back with a scratch on his nose and a bite mark in his leg. The doctor says that Hazel is fine and drives her to a place where they can let Hazel go. Lucy releases him at the base of Watership Down. If it wasn’t for Lucy’s intervention Hazel would have died. Even though his home was destroyed by humans it was the act of one kind girl that changed his fate. Richard Adam’s hints here that maybe humans and animals can live in harmony after all. As a result of standing up to the dog Woundwort died but he saved the lives of many rabbits in the process. Captain Campion decided if was best for them to return to Efrafa and surrendered to the Honeycomb. Bigwig is badly injured but is recovering and Hazel returnes to the warren to tell his story. In chapter 50 Richard Adams speeds up time, it is now October and the warren is thriving. Many of the does have already had litters and the rabbits are living well. Many of the Efrafa rabbits who surrendured joined Hazels warren and are living happily, though they belive Woundwort is still alive somewhere. Hazel is still working on a plan to start a warren between Honeycomb and Efrafa. Most of the young are growing up, listening to stories of adventure from Dandelion and reciving training from Bigwig. In the Epilouge of Watership Down the new warren between Efrafa and the Honeycomb is complete and successful. Woundwort was never seen again but his story is still told. Hazel is an old man now, but he has lived longer than most rabbits. One evenining in March, a rabbit with a shining light in his ears comes for Hazel. Hazel leaves his body behind, only looking back to see that the warren is safe, and then moves on.
Animals lives will always be affected by humans, but it does not always have to be negativly. Lucy’s act of kindness shows that not all humans are evil and just as humans can destroy animals on a whim they can also save animals in the same way.
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