Watership Down was written by Richard Adams. Adams’s book is mainly influenced by the time period during WWII where he served in the British Army regardless of its publication in the early 1970s. Based off of the english countryside of Sandleford, two sibling rabbits Hazel and Fiver must battle threats of totalitarianism that affects them directly and challenges the ideas of democracy in their warrens. But how will they be able to even stand a chance against such challenge? They set their faith and belief in stories and myths to inspire and motivate them to keep going on their journey.
A great example of something that the rabbits believe in and put all their faith in is their god of all rabbits, El-ahrairah, which in a way their god is like the god we believe in and have faith in (well at least most of us). The way rabbits set their faith on their god is how we set our faith in ours, Richard Adams made a great connection between the two similar lifestyles.
Richard Adams creates the connection of how people’s religion is identical and/or similar to the rabbits warrens. Like humans, when a religion is asked about another different religion which could or not be against them they make it almost always seem that theirs is better than any others. This seems to be the case when Strawberry shares his opinion when he says, ‘Conviction, that’s what it needs. You really have to believe in El-ahrairah and Prince Rainbow, don’t you?’ The rabbits from Snares did not share the same beliefs as the rabbits from Sandleford, just like if you were to say people from Europe share the same beliefs as people from Asia or the Middle East.
Throughout the journey in the book, Hazel the leader has to keep his rabbits encouraged and motivated when it comes to surviving. The motivation behind a myth was supposed to be the distraction for the rabbits. Somehow figuring out the journey they encounter Dandelion which tells stories when other rabbits need distractions. Dandelion tells his story by forcing to choke ‘back his own fear’ he began’ to tell the myth. In the general aspect of the story Myths helped the rabbits make it through the issue they have already encountered and the issues they will encounter. One of these important aspects is that most of the rabbit stories help ease exhaustion for the rabbits and truly keep energy levels high. Some quotes that match this point would be: ‘a little entertainment’ raise their spirits’ and ‘ enjoyed hearing a few stories from time to time.
The rabbits beliefs in El-ahrairah and Frit is shown on how they handle each situation presented to them. When running from Sandleford Down, Hazel is compared to the highly praised El-ahrairah when they ask, ‘… are you – like El-ahrairah? During the whole trip they have Hazel’s leadership is compared to the one and only El-ahrairah. This part of the book would remind me about how in people’s Christianity, god sends down his only son Jesus and because of the unique traits that Jesus possesses he is compared to his god by many and also doubted by many. Like people often ending up joining a religion or admitting one’s religion because they realize how god can lead them and guide them as well as give them courage. This is shown in Watership Down when Bigwig shows his trust and faith when he is attacked by another rabbit saying, ‘may Frith blast out and your foul Owsla full of bullies!’ Bigwig still has faith in Frith, and will do what is necessary.
Myths are also especially used to teach one another very valuable lessons not only pertaining to the journey but also life in general and religion and they also follow the religion in: ‘If anyone finds an animal or bird, that isn’t an enemy’ leaving carrots to rot in the ground.’ The way this text could be interpreted is by the rabbits implying that if another animal needs help in your area that it is your opportunity to create a positive change just by offering assistance.
In this novel, Adams sets the clear comparison that is carried along the book the whole journey over the comparison of myths and stories from ‘rabbit religion’ to human religion. He proves that with the help of myths and other stories they will provide people with the knowledge over each others faith through myths.