Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Themes

In Watership Down, "arts and culture" mostly means "telling stories about El-ahrairah," with a side order of games like "bob-stones." We don't see a lot of "bob-stones," but we see lots of storytelling. Telling stories about El-ahrairah does lots of things. For one thing, it bonds the rabbits into a community. But perhaps even more importantly, it holds up El-ahrairah as a model inspires rabbits in times of trouble. In doing so, the stories tell us what the rabbits value.

Questions About Art and Culture

  1. What other arts do rabbits practice in this book besides story telling? What arts do the rabbits in Cowslip's warren or Efrafa practice?
  2. Do the El-ahrairah stories parallel the action of Hazel's rabbits? When do the stories get told? Why do the rabbits tell these particular stories?
  3. Do we see any evidence that El-ahrairah stories change over time? How do rabbits come up with new stories?
  4. How do other rabbits tell stories? How does Silverweed's poem differ from Hyzenthlay's poem?
  5. How do the Efrafans tell stories? What do you think about the transformation of Woundwort into a mythological figure?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Cowslip's warren shows us that gaining new arts always involves losing others. Tough luck.

Storytelling is a way for rabbits to remember the lessons of the past in a fun, exciting form. In other words, storytelling is Shmoop for rabbits.

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