Discussion Topic

Significant quotations from Watership Down

Summary:

Significant quotations from Watership Down include: "All the world will be your enemy... and when they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you," emphasizing the rabbits' struggle for survival; and "If they catch you, they will kill you, but first they must catch you," highlighting their resilience and determination.

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What is the key quotation from chapter six of Watership Down?

Isn't this a great book?  I loved this book and the movie.  I would say a very important part of chapter six is "The Story of The Blessings of El-Ahrairah."

Long ago, the great Frith made the world. He made all the stars, and the Earth lived among the stars. He made all the animals and birds, and at first, he made them all the same. Now, among the animals in these days was El-Ahrairah, the prince of rabbits. He had many friends, and they all ate grass together. But after a time, the rabbits wandered everywhere, multiplying and eating as they went.

Then Frith said to El-Ahrairah, 'Prince Rabbit, if you cannot control your people, I shall find ways to control them.' But El-Ahrairah would not listen. He said to Frith, 'My people are the strongest in the world.'

This angered Frith, and he determined to get the better of El-Ahrairah. And so, he gave a present to every animal and bird, making each one different from the rest. When the fox came, and others, like the dog, and cat, hawk, and weasel, to each of them, Frith gave a fierce desire to hunt and kill the children of 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.


Dandelion is the one who tells the story about El-Ahrairah, the rabbit folk hero.  He relates the story so that the members of the warren will better understand why they live as they do and how their history affects their lives in the present.  Trickery is an important theme in the book and El-Ahrairah was the best at rabbit trickery.

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What are some significant quotations from Watership Down?

What is important to remember about this classic book is that it is an allegory that uses a community of rabbits to comment upon the community of humans and the many problems that emerge. So, when you consider this novel, have in the back of your mind the way in which this novel implicitly comments upon humans. Here is my first quote that I would pick out:

A rabbit has two ears; a rabbit has two eyes, two nostrils. Our two warrens ought to be like that. They ought to be together—not fighting. We ought to make other warrens between us—start one between here and Efrafa, with rabbits from both sides. You wouldn't lose by that, you'd gain. We both would. A lot of your rabbits are unhappy now and it's all you can do to control them, but with this plan you'd soon see a difference. Rabbits have enough enemies as it is. They ought not to make more among themselves. A mating between free, independent warrens—what do you say?

This quote is said by Hazel to Woundwort and represents a deal that he tries to make with his enemy before the fight. This quote is important because of the way that it explains Hazel's vision for Efrafa and we can see how he sticks to it. Hazel does not want domination and complete power over the Efrafans, as Woundwort does over Hazel and his group of rabbits. Rather he wants a united group of rabbits so that this group can work together to meet the challenges that face them. This quote is very important in establishing Hazel as a strong leader as he cares more about the happiness of rabbits than he does about his own position and glory. This quote of course also sharply contrasts Woundwort and Hazel. Above all, it presents a vision of unity that should inspire humans to stick together.

Lastly, consider this final quote about Woundwort and his accomplishments:

Did you see his body? No. Did anyone? No. Nothing could kill him. He made rabbits bigger than they've ever been—braver, more skillful, more cunning. I know we paid for it. Some gave their lives. It was worth it, to feel we were Efrafans. For the first time ever, rabbits didn't go scurrying away. The elil feared us. And that was on account of Woundwort—him and no one but him. We weren't good enough for the General. Depend upon it, he's gone to start another warren somewhere else. But no Efrafan officer will ever forget him.

These words are said by Groundsel, who is one of the Efrafan officers who stays with Hazel. He is talking about Woundwort and praising his achievements. This quote shows the charisma and inspiration of a great leader and the way that people can believe in him. However, what is interesting is that Groundsel suggests it has been worth the sacrifice of so many lives, which seems to comment upon the danger of totalitarian regimes run by dictators. This quote therefore can be used to indicate the subtle dangers of indoctrination and the seduction of glory and power.

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What are some significant quotations from Watership Down?

Clearly, this brilliant and compelling text is a loosely veiled allegory about the way that differences bring division and conflict into the world of humans, not just the world of rabbits. One key moment in the text which is worthy of greater analysis comes before the battle, when Hazel approaches Woundwort and tries to avoid the forthcoming fray with the following appeal. Consider how what Hazel says can be applied to humans:

A rabbit has two ears; a rabbit has two eyes, two nostrils. Our two warrens ought to be like that. They ought to be together—not fighting. We ought to make other warrens between us—start one between here and Efrafa, with rabbits from both sides. You wouldn't lose by that, you'd gain. We both would. A lot of your rabbits are unhappy now and it's all you can do to control them, but with this plan you'd soon see a difference. Rabbits have enough enemies as it is. They ought not to make more among themselves. A mating between free, independent warrens—what do you say?

The political significance of this quote lies in the way that it contrasts Hazel and Woundwort. Woundwort, as is shown by his rejection of Hazel's powerful appeal, is focused on domination alone and is very limited in terms of his vision of the future. Hazel on the other hand sees that there is great value in the rabbits cooperating so that they can focus on the other many obstacles that they face as a species. Hazel's ultimate goal and aim is happiness for all and has no interest in his own personal position and whatever glory he may gain. Woundwort's goal above all, on the other hand, is to maintain his power and empire. Hazel's vision of the future is one that has the potential to offer peace and stability to the entire species. When we apply such a vision to our own species, we can see that what Hazel says has significant value, in spite of the obvious differences that interfere in human cooperation. Hazel, however, remains true to his vision, in spite of the difficulties that this vision faces, and this should inspire us to likewise cling to such a vision of politics and human interaction.

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