What is the importance of the excerpts at the beginning of each chapter of Watership Down?

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The excerpts at the beginning of each chapter serve many purposes. The first is to show that the author, Richard Adams, is a widely educated writer since the epigraphs are taken from major works in classical literature, English poetry and, of course, the Bible. The fact that Adams uses these brief passages to introduce each chapter suggests that elements of his story have been written about since the beginning of time.

In addition to flexing his intellectual muscle, Adams' primary use of these excerpts is to foreshadow, or hint at, what will happen in the pages to come.

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