by Richard Adams
Watership Down Politics Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"It isn't Speedwell's fault," said Pipkin. "You stood by me at the river, so I thought I'd come and look for you, Hazel." (20.26)
In Watership Down, the political is often personal: some rabbits follow Woundwort out of fear, while other rabbits follow Hazel because he's admirable. In Pipkin's case, he follows Hazel (everywhere) because of what Hazel did for him that one time. This is either awesomely loyal, or incredibly annoying, depending on how cranky Hazel feels at a given moment.
Woundwort was no mere bully. He knew how to encourage other rabbits and to fill them with a spirit of emulation. (34.10)
Why do rabbits follow Woundwort when he's a crazy psycho rabbit? Because he makes being a crazy psycho rabbit look good. Seriously, rabbits are so afraid of everything, so a rabbit who stands up and is brave—well, that's pretty inspiring. In his own way, Woundwort is admirable.
"I come here for the Mark to see me," said the rabbit in his low, drained voice. "Every Mark should see how I have been punished as I deserve for my treachery in trying to leave the warren. The Council were merciful—the Council were merciful—the Council—I can't remember it, sir, I really can't," he burst out, turning to the sentry who had spoken. "I can't seem to remember anything." (35.26)
This is Blackavar explaining to Bigwig why he's in this tunnel where everyone can see him, which is so that everyone can see how he's been punished. So Woundwort inspires some bullies to be like him and join the Owsla or Owslafa, but the rest of the warren is run by fear and intimidation. Sounds like a winning combination to us (if your goal is to be a fascist).