Sean Barrs the Bookdragon's Reviews > Watership Down

Watership Down by Richard  Adams
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it was amazing
bookshelves: children-of-all-ages, 5-star-reads, favourites
Recommended for: Humankind and rabbits

I don’t give a shit what Richard Adams says about his book because it simply isn’t true. According to him, in the preface of my edition, this is just a story about rabbits. Its intended purpose was to entertain his children in the car, that’s fair enough, but he also says there is no intentional allegorical meaning whatsoever. I find this hard to believe. The allegories in here are rich and meaningful. They don’t just allude to simple problems. They’re complex and purposeful. So if he didn’t intend them, then his unconscious certainly did! I can’t believe the literary merit of this work is entirely accidental.

“Animals don't behave like men,' he said. 'If they have to fight, they fight; and if they have to kill they kill. But they don't sit down and set their wits to work to devise ways of spoiling other creatures' lives and hurting them. They have dignity and animality.”

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This has a surprising amount of depth. The story is a comment on the brutal nature of man, and his careless attitude towards nature; it is a suggestion that he kills for the sake of killing, rather than out of a need for survival; it is a statement that man is not in touch with nature like other animals, but in spite of this he is redeemable and capable of the opposite as much as the apparent. Indeed, this can be seen with the little girl who saves Hazel, the Rabbit’s chief, at the end of the novel. So it’s a bit more than a basic children’s fable. This is one of those rare, rare, books that can be read by anyone regardless of age and taste in novels; it really is a wonderful story that has the potential to be enjoyed by all. Indeed, there is a reason why very few people have not heard of Watership Down, and it’s not because this is just a tale of rabbits attempting to find a new home and survive. That is the crux of the plot, but not the limits of the scope of the novel. It has the appearance of a children’s novel in that it is an exciting adventure about rabbits, but for an adult it has greater depth.

Moreover, the novel questions the artificial life that captive animals must endure and demonstrates that they should be at one with their true nature like the rabbits of this novel. This, for me, is a rather deep observation. Humans are a species that superimpose their ways on all other forms of life. If the animals don’t adapt, then they die. I’m not going to go into the murky realms of morality, but whatever you think about the treatment of animals, this is a truism. Humans destroy nature as they destroy most things. I’m sounding like a little bit of a misanthrope but, again, it’s true.

“Men will never rest till they've spoiled the earth and destroyed the animals.”

description

Regardless of what Richard Adams thinks; his book is an allegory for many things. He may not have intended this, but the finished product clearly transcends his motives; it has become a real work of literature. One need only look at half the works in the literary cannon to see that the interpretations of these works rarely correspond with the author’s intent, and sometimes even directly oppose them. Many critics even say the author isn’t important and is just a mere vessel for the work. If this is true, then one needn’t look any further than the wonderful tale of Watership Down for conformation.

This is a great book.

Postscript- I found this gorgeous illustrated edition in Waterstones that I just had to buy.....

I mean, just look at it.

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Reading Progress

March 27, 2015 – Started Reading
March 27, 2015 – Shelved
March 30, 2015 – Finished Reading
May 27, 2015 – Shelved as: children-of-all-ages
February 13, 2016 – Shelved as: 5-star-reads
January 10, 2017 – Shelved as: favourites

Comments Showing 1-36 of 36 (36 new)

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✨Susan✨ Good review. That's a beautiful addition.


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon I know, it really is wonderful!


message 3: by Anne (new) - added it

Anne I really like the quotes! I'm so intrigued. I added this book because you liked it. I hope I get to read it soon, I need to experience this, really. Lovely review! :))


message 4: by Jilly (new)

Jilly Great review, Sean!


SUSAN   *Nevertheless,she persisted* Great review,I read this book years ago and loved it.


Delee My favorite book of all time! Great review Sean! :)


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon SUSAN wrote: "Great review,I read this book years ago and loved it."

Thanks :)


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Delee wrote: "My favorite book of all time! Great review Sean! :)"

It is so good, and I can see why you'd say so ;)


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Jilly wrote: "Great review, Sean!"

Thanks ;)


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Anne (Anneshka) wrote: "I really like the quotes! I'm so intrigued. I added this book because you liked it. I hope I get to read it soon, I need to experience this, really. Lovely review! :))"

Thanks, I hope you have fun with it too. It is a good experience:)


message 11: by MeLvz (new) - added it

MeLvz great review. but what happen to the images?


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon MeLvz wrote: "great review. but what happen to the images?"

Thanks. And they're showing up on my pc fine. :)


Chung Chung Lovely review, makes me want to read it again!


Stacey Loved the book, loved your review. And I want a copy of that beautiful edition!


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Stacey wrote: "Loved the book, loved your review. And I want a copy of that beautiful edition!"

Thanks, it's a great copy. I love the ribbon!


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Chung wrote: "Lovely review, makes me want to read it again!"

thanks, it made want to read it again too :)


message 17: by B the BookAddict (last edited Mar 18, 2016 12:23PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

B the BookAddict "Humans are a species that superimpose their ways on all other forms of life. If the animals don’t adapt, then they die. I’m not going to go into the murky realms of morality, but whatever you think about the treatment of animals, this is a truism. Humans destroy nature as they destroy most things."

Ain't that the truth! We have so much to be ashamed about, battery hens, pig farming, halal killing, animal testing for make-up and many unnecessary things.


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon B the BookAddict wrote: ""Humans are a species that superimpose their ways on all other forms of life. If the animals don’t adapt, then they die. I’m not going to go into the murky realms of morality, but whatever you thin..."

Yep unfortunately. All we can do is our best on an individual basis. :)


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* Excellent review. I just finished the book myself this week and agree with your points.


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Erin (Paperbackstash) *Proud Book Hoarder* wrote: "Excellent review. I just finished the book myself this week and agree with your points."

thanks ;)


Em Lost In Books A really nice review for an amazing book. :)


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Manju wrote: "A really nice review for an amazing book. :)"

thanks, I'm quite passionate about this story ;)


Carolina Gonzalez I liked you review and I loved the edition you bought !!!


Zuzana Zet Ľudviková I've just finished the book and I literally can't breath. I absolutely agree with everything you say.


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Zuzana Zet wrote: "I've just finished the book and I literally can't breath. I absolutely agree with everything you say."

It's great isn't it? I found out yesterday that I can write on it for an essay at university! Green politics and eco-critical reading here I come!


Zuzana Zet Ľudviková That sounds great! I hope it went well. :)


message 27: by Nikolas (new)

Nikolas Larum Love that you loved this book. It's attraction and staying power over the decades of its life is proof of its literary status. My favorite character is Fiver. He adds a great spiritual dimension to the story.

I haven't mined your history shelf yet. I was curious if you had read another favorite of mine written by Richard Adams, Traveller. It is the story of the American Civil War as told from the perspective of Gen. Robert E. Lee's horse, Traveler. It is brilliantly done. If you haven't read it, it is worth your time.


Morgan That art in that book looks wonderful!


message 29: by Mark (new) - added it

Mark Beautifull book.


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Mark wrote: "Beautifull book."

very much so! :) RIP Richard Adams


message 31: by Josh (new) - rated it 4 stars

Josh Anderson I love the images...how did you get an image in your review?


Sean Barrs the Bookdragon Josh wrote: "I love the images...how did you get an image in your review?"

image code: description

(Width must be 0-400, Height must be 0-1000, alt is a description of the image. All three are optional, but recommended.)


message 33: by Josh (new) - rated it 4 stars

Josh Anderson thanks!


message 34: by Robyn (new)

Robyn C.S. Lewis claims that he intended no sybolism in The Chronicles of Narnia, but every philosophical and theological matter presented in his nonfiction books are revealed all the clearer via the fantasy.

I have Watership Down, but haven't read it. Your review has piqued my interest.


message 35: by Víctor (new) - added it

Víctor This is a beautiful review, which sets my mood for reading the novel (which I bought just yesterday). This you have commented is great, since it's quite a psychoanalitic, sociological and postmord look at the novel which indeed prompts to other types of readings. You made me think of the Romantic period in literary history. They somehow were opposed too, to this Enlightments's idea that Nature should be beneath the hand of man, which eventually led to many natural catastrophes. Romantics opposed this idea somehow and learn to see the beautiful (or the sublime) in nature, and embrace it, among many other things...


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