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Free Study Guide for Watership Down by Richard Adams

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FREE BOOK REVIEW WATERSHIP DOWN PLOT SUMMARY

CHAPTER 4 - The Departure

Summary

Shortly after moonrise--called "fu inle"--the departing rabbits begin to gather. Pipkin, a timid friend of Fiverís has been persuaded to come along. Hawkbit, considered slow and stupid by Hazel, has been brought in by Dandelion. Bigwig has managed to bring along Silver, a nephew of the Threarah who has not yet established himself among the Owsla. They are just about to leave when Captain Holly and two other guards show up and announce that Silver and Bigwig are under arrest. Silver is to be arrested for failing to report to Toadflax, and Bigwig is under arrest for spreading dissension and inciting to mutiny. A brief struggle takes place which is brought to a halt when Hazel confronts Holly and tells him to leave or he will be killed. Holly and the two guards run off, but the rabbits know that they will soon be back with an entire contingent of the Owsla. Thus they are now forced to leave quickly to avoid severe punishment and even death.


Notes

The tyrannical nature of the Owsla is apparent, although in another sense they are simply doing their job. However, the rabbits obviously do not have the freedom to come and go as they choose or to leave the warren for any reason. Most of them donít want to, but even if they did, they would be prevented from doing so unless the Owsla had thought of it first. Holly is a sensible captain who has more brains than to take on a half dozen or more rabbits all by himself. Hazelís leadership qualities are developing very quickly along with the other rabbitsí trust in him. It is also worth noting that Hazel chooses NOT to harm Holly or the other guards, but lets them go with a warning even thought it may bring additional trouble. It is part of Hazelís nature that he doesnít kill even his enemies unnecessarily.


CHAPTER 5 - In the Woods

Summary

The rabbits wander in the woods all night, straggling widely at times, but trying to stay together and keep up a good pace. Finally realizing that the smaller rabbits cannot keep the pace any longer and that all are tired, Hazel decides that they should all rest awhile. The first mention is made of El-ahrairah, the rabbit folk-hero who accomplished many his exploits as much by trickery as by skill or intelligence. Hazel decides that it will help the rabbits to keep their spirits up if they hear a story.

Notes

El-ahrairah is comparable to Daniel Boone, Davy Crocket or even Odysseus who, we are told, actually borrowed some of his strategies from the rabbit. This begins a pattern of story telling which provides tradition for the rabbits as well as a behavior pattern by which to validate their own behaviors.

 

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