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Watership Down
Watership Down
by Richard Adams

Watership Down Analysis

Literary Devices in Watership Down

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

If central England were to disappear, you could probably recreate it from this book. That's how gigantically detailed and realistic this book's setting is. No, let's rephrase our first sentence: Yo...

Narrator Point of View

Imagine this story told from the point of view of Hazel or one of the other rabbits. That bunny narrator would use lots of bunny words—hrairoo, Owsla, hraka—and never need to define what those...

Genre

Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig and the other rabbits get caught up in a lot of adventures. But we're classing this as a quest story (rather than as an adventure story) because all of these adventures are ver...

Tone

As an example of "deadly serious and a little distant," check out when Bigwig gets caught in a snare and he's not moving:Blackberry pressed his nose against Bigwig's head. As he nuzzled him gently...

Writing Style

When we say "straightforward," we mean that the sentences move ahead with a pretty standard "Noun + Verb" structure: The two rabbits went up to the board at a hopping run and crouched in a patch of...

What's Up With the Title?

Watership Down is named after a real location in England that is, frankly, pretty boring. In fact, it's just a hill. There were no battles there, no famous speeches, no iPod factories or summer mus...

What's Up With the Epigraph?

There isn't a single epigraph to the whole book, so we can't easily say "Well, the epigraph expresses themes X and Y which we see in the book." But every single chapter contains some epigraph, each...

What's Up With the Ending?

How many happy endings involve the death of a main character? Not many, we think, but that's just what happens here. But we'll get to that in a second. First, we'll tell you that the epilogue to Wa...

Tough-o-Meter

If we were only talking about the epigraphs to each chapter (see Shout-Outs), we'd probably give this a 6 or an 8 for difficulty. But we're rating the book a 4. Why?The book is a wee bit hard becau...

Plot Analysis

"You're all going to die if you stay here!": Leaving Home (Chapters 1-3)The initial situation of Watership Down is (a) they are living in Sandleford Warren; (b) Fiver knows that the warren is doome...

Trivia

File this under "life imitates art": there's actually a potential plan to build on Watership Down and a bunch of people are opposed to that plan, including Richard Adams. (Source)In 1976, some peop...

Steaminess Rating

There's violence and there's hraka (if you know what that means in Lapine), so this book may not be totally suitable for young children. (Although young children can be pretty violent and hraka-ori...

Allusions

(1) Classic Greek playwright Aeschylus; his play Agamemnon about Agamemnon; the character Cassandra (2) Welsh poet Henry Vaughan; his poem "The World" (3) Classic Greek soldier/author Xenophon; his...

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