Cite This Page
 
To Go
Watership Down
Watership Down
by Richard Adams
Advertisement
group rates for schools and districts
ADVERTISEMENT

Humans

Character Analysis

Mean, Stupid, Uncaring, or All Three?

When we meet a human character in Watership Down, that's the question we ask ourselves: "are these humans mean, stupid, uncaring, or some combination of the three?" Because from a rabbit's perspective, humans are dangerous monsters. Honestly, if you're a rabbit, it doesn't matter whether the human is mean, stupid, or uncaring, because the result is almost always the same: the human is going to kill the rabbit.

In fact, we can count on one hand the number of times that rabbits and humans have good interactions: (1) There's the "kind old schoolmaster" (34.4) who rescues an orphaned Woundwort and feeds him with an eyedropper; and (2) there's the smart, kind young Lucy Cane who rescues Hazel from the family cat and takes Hazel to Doctor Adams.

Against those two examples, we have a legion of people are dangerous to rabbits: Woundwort's family being shot and dug out by a cottager; the Sandleford Warren being poisoned and dug up; Hazel being shot by farmers; the farmer who feeds and traps Cowslip's rabbits; etc. Even when humans aren't actively trying to kill rabbits (sometimes it's just an oopsy), a rabbit dies all the same. For instance, the Efrafan Charlock and some other rabbits get killed by a train (34.13). The people on the train aren't trying to kill rabbits, but—whoops!—a rabbit still dies.

Which is why the narrator makes a reference to rabbits and "their enemies—weasels or humans" (5.14), lumping humans in with any other predator. And except for a few characters—the schoolmaster, Lucy Cane, Doctor Adams—we can't really blame rabbits for fearing humans as much as or more than they fear weasels.

Next Page: Analysis
Previous Page: El-ahrairah and other Mythic Figures

Need help with College?