by Richard Adams
Watership Down Power Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"I'm sick and tired of it," he said. "It's the same all the time. 'These are my claws, so this is my cowslip.' 'These are my teeth, so this is my burrow.' I'll tell you, if ever I get into the Owsla, I'll treat outskirters with a bit of decency." (1.18)
In Sandleford Warren, power = strength. And we know this equation is accurate since we've just seen Toadflax and some other rabbit threaten Hazel and Fiver over some food. This is the simplest form of power—and the type that Hazel doesn't want to rely on in his ideal home.
And Frith called after him, 'El-ahrairah, your people cannot rule the world, for I will not have it so. All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you, digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks and your people shall never be destroyed.' (6.8)
In the Blessing of El-ahrairah story, Frith (God) gives El-ahrairah a blessing—strong legs and a cute tail. But notice all the different skills and powers that Frith lists: digging and running are strength-based, but being "cunning and full of tricks" is all about cleverness. And since that type of power (brain-power) is in the same sentence as "your people shall never be destroyed," maybe Frith is saying that that's the most useful type of power.
"Now Bigwig's put their backs up, and they'll think they've got to go on because he makes them. I want them to go on because they can see it's the only thing to do. There are too few of us for giving orders and biting people." (11.4)
As we've said before, Bigwig doesn't make an awesome first impression on us reader. He's kind of a bully and he also won't stick out his little, rabbity neck for the small rabbits. And here's Hazel complaining that Bigwig has messed up by using strength to bully some rabbits rather than cleverness. (And we know Hazel is right because he's always right—as long as he agrees with Fiver.)