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Richard Adams’s Watership Down Essay

1128 words - 5 pages

Richard Adams’s Watership Down

There are many intriguing and fascinating lessons and thoughts that can be extracted from Richard Adams’s Watership Down when inspected under a “magnifying glass.” From those many issues, the one that is the most influential to ourselves is the issue regarding anti-segregation, portrayed ingeniously by Richard Adams through Hazel within many different cases in the novel. Out of those many instances, this essay will discuss two of them, explain how they display the issue of anti-segregation, and compare them to a famous historical and political figure.

The character in the novel that Richard Adam decides to portray as a “civil rights leader” is Hazel. Hazel and his companions have already discovered Watership Down and have just started getting settled when this first incident takes place. These rabbits live a very unique style of life. To these rabbits, almost every other kind of animal, weather known to them or not, weather they have ever seen or heard of them or not, are considered as Elil and always detrimental. Since Elil are almost every species of animals besides rabbits, these rabbits must be extremely careful when wondering through the forests because they might be confronted with Elil and be forced into very bad situations. In a way, these rabbits believed that all other types of animals, no matter how similar or different,

are always “bad” and these rabbits can have nothing to do with them. The exact definition of the word prejudice in the dictionary is - strictly defined, a preformed and unsubstantiated judgment or opinion about an individual or a group, either favorable or unfavorable in nature. In modern usage, however, the term most often denotes an unfavorable or hostile attitude toward other people based on their membership in another social or ethnic group. The distinguishing characteristic of a prejudice is that it relies on stereotypes (oversimplified generalizations) about the group against which the prejudice is directed. This is exactly what the rabbits were. It’s a hostile attitude relying on stereotypes based on their membership in another group, any other animal besides rabbits, being the other group in our novel. This is the “barrier” or “belief” that was broken by Hazel. He strongly believed that if you gave the other animals a chance, they might be able to prove themselves not to be enemies. Not only that, but at the end, they might even be beneficial to the rabbits, which is actually the case here, as we will see later on.

The first instance that Hazel shows his anti-segregation mentality occurs shortly after the rabbits find the Honeycomb. They were gathered underground when Silver quickly came down screaming “Hawk! Hawk!” After they were all safe underground they noticed a mouse had joined them. Quickly, Hazel came over to the mouse to see if it was ok. Contrary to the rest of the rabbits, he told the mouse it could stay underground until it was safe to go...

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