Rabbit Hill Characters
by Robert Lawson

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Themes and Characters

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

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The "new folks" in Rabbit Hill function more as a single character than as individuals, although the cook with her peculiar friendship with Pewy, and the man with his strong-smelling pipe are somewhat individualized. In general, however, the humans are simply a presence that forces the animal community to confront their own hopes and fears. Within this context, each of the animals expresses its own temperament. Porky shows a stubborn resolve not to move his home; Father Rabbit constantly returns to memories of better times. The "new folks" make a considerate gesture, leaving Porkey's home untouched, but this soon gives way to their mysterious treatment of Little Georgie.

Little Georgie is a pivotal character for he represents hope for the future. He is carefully balanced against Uncle Analdas whose age gives him wisdom, but also an excessive pessimism toward the dangers that accompany any new enterprise. Together Georgie's experience with the automobile, his mysterious treatment by the "new folks," and Analdas's plots to get revenge enhance the final resolution of the plot.

New Folks coming, oh my! New Folks coming, oh my! Oh my! Oh my!
In this fable, Lawson makes the point that social harmony is possible, even among potential enemies, if the members of a society subscribe to the basic virtues of trust and honesty. When the "new folks" take Little Georgie into their home, the animals misunderstand their intentions and harmony is threatened. This episode indicates that the preservation of social harmony requires constant affirmation and work. The garden serves as a reminder that the needs of the animals and those of the "new folks" could still come into conflict. The agreement to share the garden is a recognition that these potentially contrary needs can find resolution.