Free Study Guide for Watership Down by Richard Adams|
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WATERSHIP DOWN SUMMARY NOTES
Woundwort leaves the run and orders Vervain to go down and finish Bigwig off.
Vervain refuses, knowing that Woundwort got the worst of the fight and
is trying to get someone to cover for him. Then Bigwig, barely moving,
appears at the end of the tunnel. He tells Woundwort that it will be much
more difficult to push him back from there, and that he will not move
because his chief rabbit has told him to stay. This surprises the Efrafans
because they had thought Bigwig was the chief rabbit. Woundwort gives
orders to dig into the Honeycomb from another spot and just let Bigwig
stay where he is, but several of Woundwort’s rabbits have already run
off. Woundwort tries to get his remaining rabbits to drop though the hole
in the roof and dig out every remaining blocked burrow, but then he spots
Fiver sitting there. He sends Vervain in to kill Fiver, but instead of
fighting, Fiver simply tells Vervain that he is sorry for the deaths of
the Efrafans. The strange behavior seems to put some sort of spell on
Vervain who stumbles back into the daylight with a terrifying- although
fictional-tale of a "great Chief Rabbit bigger than a hare."
Woundwort tries to lead the way in to show the rabbits the wall that he
wants taken down when two strange rabbits leap the bank in front of him
and disappear down one of the tunnels. They are followed by the dog. Campion
tells all of his rabbits to "run," but Woundwort stands his
ground prepared to take on the dog. The last thing they hear from him
is an order to fight, saying "dogs aren’t dangerous! Come back and
Forming the climax of the story, chapters 44 through 47 leap frog back and forth between the events at the farm as the rabbits try to free and lure the dog and those at the Honeycomb as Bigwig and Holly hold off Woundwort while they wait for reinforcements. Woundwort and Bigwig are intellectually and almost physically matched, but Bigwig has the slight advantage of being able to limit the ease with which the enemy rabbit can get to him. Furthermore, even though he acknowledges fear, he is able to fight to the death if need be because he is fighting for the lives of the does and little ones as well as the smaller bucks of his warren. The story lapses into a subtle, historical but effective cliche in using the concept that there is not fiercer fighter than one fighting for his home and family. Woundwort on the other hand is merely out for additional conquest, sort of a "Hitler" type figure who would conquer all the rabbits of his world if he could. His primary motivation is preserve his authority; he is not exactly fearless in the face of an enemy that is truly his equal, but he is able to put his own fear aside to keep his position and inspire his rabbit army. In the end, however, he is also a bit insane as he does not recognize the moment when running is his only option.
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Ruff, Karen SC. "TheBestNotes on Watership Down".
. 09 May 2017