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Free Study Guide for Watership Down by Richard Adams

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Journey Motif




Willingness to change

Creative thinking

Brain Vs. Brawn

The ideal society

These themes are explored more in the Theme Analysis section of the study guide.


The story is easy to read, but although the vocabulary is fairly simple, the language style is sophisticated and serious. The author wrote the story in such a way that we accept the careful anthropomorphism of the rabbits, because although they act "almost" human, they are not ridiculous. A good balance of humor is maintained with the help of the stories of the rabbit folk hero El-ahrairah.

Richard Adams - BIOGRAPHY

Richard Adams was born on May 9, 1920 and he is a British author of fantasy tales whose first book Watership Down was his road to enduring fame. He also wrote The Plague Dogs and Shardick, among others. He is still living in the area that formed the setting for Hazel and his friends in this novel. Some critics have found political implications in the novel, but Adams himself claims to have had no political agenda when writing his books. The origin of Watership Down is a story with which he entertained his two daughters, Juliet and Roamund. Upon their insistence, he wrote it down and sought publication. Two and a half years later, the novel was finished and published.

Richard Adams has been married to his wife Elizabeth for nearly 50 years. Although he left his public service job to devote himself to writing, he has spent most of his life doing a variety of British Civil Service jobs. He has been in coast protection, in slum clearance, and has worked with the Ministry of Education among other things. He has also been active in the fight for animal rights and elimination of animal drug testing. He wrote The Plague Dogs as a deliberate satire on animal experimentation. While it was Watership Down that allowed him to retire to a life devoted to writing, Adams claims that his book Shardick is the best book he has ever written.


The story is adult fantasy inspired by a series of oral tales that Adams had invented to please his daughters. There is no deliberate correlation with historical or political events although general knowledge of human civilizations allows for such a comparison. (This is discussed further in the overall analysis)


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Watership Down by Richard Adams Free BookNotes Summary

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Ruff, Karen SC. "TheBestNotes on Watership Down". . 09 May 2017