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Watership Down Essay

In the book Watership Down by Richard Adams, the rabbits’ culture is very much like our human culture. One similarity between rabbits and humans is that they both believe in an all-powerful god. Another likeness of the two civilizations is that they both have governmental systems. A third parallel between humans and rabbits is that they both have stereotypical societies. Three major areas of human culture, belief in gods, governmental systems, and stereotypical societies, are just a few out of many characteristics presented that show the rabbits in Watership Down are really portraying human mentality in rabbits civilization.

One similarity between rabbits and humans is that the majorities of them believe in an all-powerful god. Human society mainly worships three gods; Christians look to Jesus of the Trinity, Muslims to Allah, and Buddhists to Buddha. All followers recognize that their god created the earth, and has power to govern the world. They also pray to their god in times of hardship and when giving thanks. Rabbits have a god know as Frith, who is the sun, and that he created the world and watches over all the creatures that live there. Also like humans, the rabbits in Watership Down pray to Frith in times of adversity and thank him for their good fortune. An example of this can be found on page seventy, when the rabbits give thanks to Frith for helping them find their way through the woods at night. Rabbits and humans both believe in gods because they pray to them and ask them for help in times of need.

Another likeness of the two civilizations is that they both have similar governmental systems. Humans have presidents, dictators, kings, or prime ministers that execute the laws of the land by using police to enforce rules and protect citizens. Rabbits rely on a Chief Rabbits, as the head of their “warren”, or territory. Like a king, the Chief Rabbit makes all important decisions pertaining to the community. Again, like humans, rabbits also have a police force known as the Owsla. They protect the Chief Rabbit, warn the warren of dangers such as predators and bad weather, and arrest rabbits that break the law. One instance of this is when the captain of the Owsla tries to arrest a rabbit for inciting to mutiny on page thirty-five. A third similarity between rabbits and humans’ governments is how the general public feels about their leaders. Most humans are not content with their leaders, and wish they could have their own way in making laws and leading their people. Rabbits are the same in that they don’t always agree with decisions made by the Chief Rabbit, but cannot do much about their dissatisfaction. Humans and rabbits have similar forms of government to run their communities in that they are headed by one main leader, they have a police force to carry out the laws, and the general population disagrees with decisions made by their leader.

A third parallel between humans and rabbits is that they both have stereotypical societies. Humans have a strong habit of classifying a person by only their first impression. Size, physique, looks, language, and even hair style can alter someone’s feelings about what kind of person another human being is. Rabbits will judge others in the same sense by their smell, looks, size, and manner. For example, on page seventy-seven, Hazel concluded that the rabbit he had just met was well-fed, rich, and aristocratic all from just his large size. Although the rabbit tuned out to be rich, he did not end up having an “upper-class” attitude towards the group of ragged travelers, as they might have thought. Humans and rabbits both live in stereotypical societies because they both judge each other on how they look and present themselves.

Just a few out of many characteristics presented that show the rabbits in Watership Down are really portraying a human’s mind-set in rabbits civilization are three of the major areas of human culture: belief in gods, governmental systems, and stereotypical societies. They both believe in gods because they pray to them and ask them for help in times of need. In addition, they have similar forms of government to run their communities in that they are headed by one main leader, they have a police force to look after the population, and the general public disagrees with judgments made by their leader.

Finally, the both live in stereotypical societies because how they present themselves and their looks impacts another’s judgment of their character. The rabbits in Watership Down may have the body of rabbits, but they have the mentality of humans.

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