Robert Lawson's Rabbit Hill is a splendid fable that reinforces the notion that people (and animals) must learn to live together in harmony. Written at the end of World War II when the peoples of the world looked forward to a time of peace and prosperity, the story of the coming of the "new folks" to live among the animals of Rabbit Hill symbolizes the optimism of these postwar years. Lawson does not, however, allow the development of his theme to rest on sentimentality and false hope. The cemetery where Mother Rabbit's grandchildren are buried serves as poignant reminder that the recent past, dominated by the animals' experiences with "bad folks," must not be forgotten.
When Little Georgie is hit by an automobile and is taken in by the humans for uncertain purposes, the animal community confronts a new crisis in their relationship with encroaching human society. Lawson's fable drives home the point that a harmonious world can only result when individuals adopt basic, communal virtues without relying on the workings of fate or chance. Although this fable looks at the future optimistically, it is an optimism tempered by common sense and realism.
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