Discussion Topic

The months covered in Watership Down


The timeline in Watership Down spans from early spring to late summer. The story begins in May and continues through the warmer months, highlighting the rabbits' journey and struggles as they seek a new home.

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Which months are covered in Part 2 of Watership Down?

Part 2 of Watership Down takes place during June, since the last mention of "May" as a month comes in Chapter 14:

As they came up into the May morning...

After this, the first concrete mention of the month in Part 2 comes in Chapter 18, which is the first chapter of Part 2:

As Hazel still went up, the south wind began to blow and the June sunset reddened the sky to the zenith.

In Chapter 30, the first chapter of Part 3, the following quote occurs:

June was moving toward July and high summer. Hedgerows and verges were at their rankest and thickest.
(Adams, Watership Down, Google Books)

From these quotes, it can be seen that Part 2 of Watership Down takes place entirely during the month of June, before the hottest part of the summer but well after the heavy snow and rain of the winter has ended. This allows the rabbits to travel in relative comfort, with easy access to food plants and cover. However, it is also the time when many predators are at their most active, some regaining their food from hibernation, and many gathering food for new predator infants.

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Which months are covered in Watership Down?

Watership Down is the epic tale of Hazel and his group of rabbits that have left their comfortable warren in search of a new place to call home. While it seems like a lifetime for the rabbits, the whole journey takes place from May to October. 

It is May when Hazel and his group decide to leave their home. The first line of paragraph two in chapter one reads: "The May sunset was red in clouds..." Hazel felt the urgency to leave due to his friend Fiver's premonition of death being brought to the warren.  

Hazel leads his band of rabbits through the countryside throughout the summer until they find their new home on Watership Down. However, their plight is not over when they settle into their new surroundings. They are a group of male rabbits and must add females in order for their warren to flourish. 

After pilfering females from a neighboring warren, which resulted in a grand battle on Watership Down, Hazel and his group are finally settled in the fall. The fist line of chapter 50 reads: "It was a fine, clear evening in mid-October..." They have recovered from their adventures and delivered their first round of litters. The epilogue takes the reader years down the line to learn that the Watership Down warren has grown and thrives. 

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