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Watership Down Hero Journey Project
Transcript of Watership Down Hero Journey Project
Hero Returns/The Road Home
Here, it shows the ordinary, mundane world before Hazel and Fiver left along with their other companions.
This scene shows everything that Hazel has ever known in the world, and it is also where he decides to heed Fiver’s warning and leave. The Sandleford warren is portrayed as quiet and peaceful, to show how strange it was that Fiver would feel the need to leave.
“Dandelion shot out of the bushes, crossed the path in a flash and was on the boat beside Hazel. In the same moment the rope parted and immediately the little punt began to bove along the bank in a steady current” (Adams, 365).
“As they ran down the hill to the right of the track, Hazel fairly skipped to recognize the beech hanger....Then he caught sight of Buckthorn and Strawberry running toward them across the grass” (Adams, 393).
Explanation: The first quote shows the moment in their escape from Efrafa that Hazel and his team are able to escape from General Woundwort’s clutches on the boat. The second quote shows Hazel and the other rabbits that visited Efrafa returning from their mission. They have the does, which means that they were successful, and they are running down the hill back to their home, the Watership warren, to meet all their friends.
Hazel and his team are on the road home as they flee from Efrafa and General Woundwort with the does to get back to the Watership warren. General Woundwort served as an impediment on “the road home,” but they are able to pass this obstacle. Hazel and the rest of the rabbits that went on the trip with him to Efrafa running down the hill show the hero’s return. This shows the end of the quest/mission for the Efrafan does, when the hero returns home triumphantly.
2. Call to Adventure/Refusal
Resurrection/Epiphany/Apotheosis: transformation, freedom
“My Chief Rabbit has told me to defend this run and until he says otherwise I shall stay here” (Adams, 450).
“‘I couldn’t do it again, Hazel-rah,’ he said” (Adams, 370).
Quote #1: Bigwig is defending the watership warren in the final battle against General Woundwort and his Efrafan army. When General Woundwort tries to convince Bigwig to get out from the underground warren and stop defending the run, Bigwig mentions Hazel being his “chief rabbit” and his loyalty to Hazel.
Quote #2: Bigwig is exhausted after the rabbits’ trip on the river on the way back from Efrafa with the does. He refers to Hazel as Hazel-rah, which means that Hazel has been accepted as chief rabbit.
Quote #1: The quote about Bigwig shows how his personality has changed over the course of the journey. When he first joined Hazel and Fiver at the beginning of the story to leave the Sandleford warren, he was very controlling of all the other rabbits and much more arrogant. This quote shows the change in Bigwig’s personality, becoming more respectful of and subordinate to Hazel over the course of the journey.
Quote #2: This quote shows Hazel’s transformation from a mere responsible elder brother to a leader and chief rabbit. This quote especially shows the large transformation that Hazel has been through in the course of the book, because the rabbit in this quote referring to him as Hazel-rah is Bigwig, who began the journey with much less respect for Hazel. Hazel has evolved into a great leader to his fellow rabbits throughout the journey.
In this scene, Fiver and Hazel are grazing out in a pasture when Fiver finally understands the bad feeling he had been having earlier in the book that will eventually cause them to leave the warren. Here, Fiver is worried and asks Hazel to leave the warren, but not until later is Hazel convinced that they should. The second quote is when Hazel and Fiver go to see the Threarah, and he doesn’t think that moving the warren would be the best thing to do.
This is where Hazel begins to believe that something may be wrong, as all of Fiver’s predictions had become true, however he brushes it off thinking that Fiver is being silly.
Master of Two Worlds
“The warren prospered and so, in the fullness of time, did the new warren on the Belt, halfway between Watership and half Efrafan...” (Adams, 472)
The warren that Hazel has dreamed of since his return from Efrafa has finally become a reality. It is prospering halfway between the two warrens, uniting them in peace.
Since his return from Efrafa, Hazel’s dream has been to unite the two opposing worlds in a joint warren to overcome differences and make peace between the warrens. This quote shows that his dream has finally come true, making him the “master of two worlds.”
Hazel and Fiver have already talked to the Threarah, and tried to convince him that they needed to leave the warren, however the thought of moving the entire warren is out of the question, and the likelihood that Fiver is wrong is too high. Here, Hazel and Fiver are waiting in a burrow for the others to come with their recruited rabbits, ready to leave the warren.
At this point, all of the companions who are to leave the warren are listed and known, however they are not chosen by skill but rather of need, and though this may be a setback, all the rabbits help in some way or another that influence the plot and story.
Freedom to Live or Return "home"
4. Crossing the Threshold
After some waiting, Hazel decides it’s best to leave the warren after an attack from one of the Threarah’s Owsla, coming to arrest Hazel, Fiver, and Bigwig for plotting against him. All of the rabbits head out towards the forest and cross the threshold.
This is very significant in the story because it’s the moment the hero and his companions set out into the unknown world in search of the place Fiver has described to Hazel, the perfect place for a new warren and a better life.
“The primroses were over. Toward the edge of the wood, where the ground became open and sloped down to an old fence and a brambly ditch beyond, only a few fading patches of pale yellow still showed among the dog’s mercury and oak tree roots.” (Adams, 1)
“Oh, Hazel! This is where it comes from! I know now--something very bad! Some terrible thing--coming closer and closer...The field! It’s covered with blood!...We’ve got to go away before it’s too late.” (Adams, 7-9)
“‘Well, I never did! That’s a rather tall order, isn’t it? What do you think of yourself?’” (Adams, 11).
“‘Right,’ said Bigwig, ‘then you can take me.’” (Adams, 14)
“It was Blackberry who spoke next. ‘I think I’ll come.’” (Adams, 15)
“With them was a third rabbit, Hlao--Pipkin--a friend of Fiver.” (Adams, 17)
“‘I’m Hawkbit...I’ll come with you.’” (Adams, 17)
“Buckthorn…” (Adams, 18)
“Speedwell and Acorn…” (Adams, 18)
“This was Silver, a nephew of the Threarah…” (Adams, 19)
“...he led the way out of the ditch and down the slope. In less than a minute the little band of rabbits had disappeared into the dim, moonlit night.” (Adams, 21)
Quoted Evidence: “On the west side of the beech hanger, in the evening sun, Hazel and Fiver were sitting with Holly, Silver, and Groundsel. The Efrafan survivors had been allowed to join the warren and...were settling down pretty well...Just outside the beech hanger, Hyzenthlay’s litter of four young rabbits were playing in the grass” (Adams, 466).
The Watership warren is prospering. Two of the does have already had litters by this time, and all of the rabbits seem content with their new life in the Watership warren. The Efrafan survivors have also joined their warren and are living peacefully with the other rabbits.
The goal of the rabbits that originally left the Sandleford warren was to eventually settle a new warren that could serve as a place to live and prosper. This goal was accomplished with their watership warren. They now can live and prosper with the does from Efrafa. This quote shows the tranquility, peace, and general happiness of the rabbits in their new warren, or home.
Quoted evidence: “‘Bigwig’s in a wire.Let him alone...’” (Adams, 112)
Explanation: Bigwig has gotten caught in a hunters wire near the Efrafa
Connection/Analysis: These traps helped warn Hazel that Cowslip’s warren wasn’t the safest place for the rabbits to stay and that Cowslip was not telling them everything about what goes on around the warren. The traps also injured Bigwig which makes it hard for him to fight the rats later on
Quoted Evidence: “‘You’d do better to give in now,’ said Campion,” (Adams, 258).
Explanation: General Woundwort and the Owslafa from the Efrafa warren are trying to stop Bigwig and the does.
Connection: Analysis: The Efrafan Owslafa is a very strong group of rabbits and they are a major obstacle that makes it harder for Hazel and his friends to live a normal life with the does they helped escape.
Quoted evidence: “‘I’ll kill you myself,’ said Woundwort” (Adams, 359).
Explanation: General Woundwort is now trying to stop Bigwig from escaping with the does and Blackavar from Efrafa.
Connection/Analysis: Now that General Woundwort is trying to stop Bigwig from escaping from Efrafa, he is a dangerous enemy and has made it much harder for the Bigwig to get back to the boat and later on in the story, he made it hard for the Hazel and his friends to live a peaceful life.
Road of Trials/Approach
“Woundwort, drenched in mud and rain, glaring and scrabbling...with his great claws. ‘I’ll kill you myself,’ said Woundwort” (Adams, 359).
Bigwig, Blackavar, and the does are trying to escape from Efrafa. Woundwort is very angry that he has been betrayed by Bigwig, and he is trying to prevent the party from leaving Efrafa.
General Woundwort is the biggest obstacle of the Watership rabbits when they are trying to get does from Efrafa. Since he dictates everything that goes on in the Efrafa warren and doesn’t like when rabbits try to escape from his warren, he becomes very angry with Bigwig, Blackavar, and the does when they are trying to escape. This causes very much trouble for the escape party and makes their breakout and journey home very difficult.
“On the west side of the beech hanger, in the evening sun, Hazel and Fiver were sitting with Holly, Silver, and Groundsel. The Efrafan survivors had been allowed to join the warren and...were settling down pretty well...Just outside the beech hanger, Hyzenthlay’s litter of four young rabbits were playing in the grass” (Adams, 466).
About six weeks after Hazel’s final return from Nuthanger Farm, the Watership warren is prospering. Two of the does have already had litters by this time, and all of the rabbits seem content with their new life in the Watership warren. The Efrafan survivors have also joined their warren and are living peacefully with the other rabbits.
Since the original group of rabbits left the Sandleford warren, their main goal has always been to create a peaceful and prosperous warren, and their mission has finally been accomplished. This archetype represents the beauty, innocence, and abundance of the rabbits’ new warren, which is what the rabbits have been essentially working towards throughout the duration of the story.
Quoted evidence: “Hazel and Fiver remained in the ditch...” (Adams, 19).
Explanation: Fiver, is another one of the allies to be with Hazel.
Connection/Analysis: Fiver is a helpful ally because he has saved the group many times from dangers such as when he tells them that something bad will happen to Sandleford warren. Since he has the “Second sight” he is a very important ally.
Quoted evidence: “ A few moments later Bigwig was in the ditch.” (Adams, 19).
Explanation: A rabbit named Bigwig joins the group.
Connection/Analysis: This is an important ally to recognize because Bigwig helped the group a lot such as when he was in Efrafa and when he fought against General Woundwort.
Quoted evidence: “‘Listen. I get peeg, fine plan. I go fine now. Ving, e’ better. Vind finish, den I fly. Fly for you. Find plenty mudders, tell you vere dey are ya?’” (Adams, 189)
Explanation: A bird named Kehaar is helping the rabbits find some does for their warren.
Connection/Analysis: Kehaar is a big help to the rabbits because he helps them find does for their warren so that the warren can get more rabbits and continue living.
Quoted evidence: “‘Then that settles it, I won’t go without him’... ‘I’ll come! I’ll run any risk’” (Adams, 330).
Explanation: A rabbit named Hyzenthlay is helping Bigwig escape from Efrafa with the does and they are taking Blackavar with them.
Connection/ Analysis: Hyzenthlay is a very helpful ally because she helped Bigwig gather the does to escape Efrafa and she was a doe that went to the Watership warren with them.
Approaching/Entering the cave
Quoted evidence: “‘I’ve come to join Efrafa’” (Adams, 311).
Explanation: Bigwig is trying to get into Efrafa so that he can steal the does. He is joining Efrafa and is telling General Woundwort that he traveled a long way to join Efrafa.
Connection/Analysis: This is how Bigwig gets into Efrafa and gains their trust so that steal the does and take them back to the Watership warren.
Supreme ordeal/belly of the whale:
Quoted evidence: “Before she could reply, another doe gave a squeal of fear. A little way downstream, Campion and his patrol had emerged from the bushes and were coming up the path. From the opposite direction Vervain, Chervil, and Groundsel were approaching.”
Explanation: General Woundwort, and the Efrafans are trying to catch Bigwig, the does, and their allies after they escaped.
Connection/Analysis: This is the moment of most danger because they are being chased by the Efrafans who want to rip them apart and they also are about to get on a boat, where they might crash into something or sink.
Ultimate boon/Magic elixir/ Seizing the sword:
Quoted evidence: “In the same moment, the rope parted and immediately the little punt began to move along the bank in the steady current... looking back, the last thing Bigwig saw was the face of General Woundwort staring out of the gap in the willow herb where the boat had lain.” (Adams, 365).
Explanation: Bigwig and his friends find a way to escape from the Efrafans using a little boat.
Connection/ Analysis: This allowed Bigwig and his friends to escape from the Efrafans and get ahead of them and closer to their warren.
Quoted evidence: “ But almost before they had begun to scatter, into their midst bounded a great black dog, snapping, biting and chasing hither and thither like a fox in a chicken run.” (Adams, 454)
Explanation: Hazel helped the dog escape from Nuthanger farm and the dog is now chasing away the Efrafans.
Connection/ Analysis: This dog helped make the Efrafans go away and helped Hazel and his friends live a normal life afterward.
Quoted evidence: “And sometimes, they told tales on a sunny evening by the beech trees...” (Adams, 473).
Explanation: The Watership rabbits are now able to live a normal life and tell stories.
Connection/Importance: This shows how the rabbits have the energy and creativity to tell stories and how the times have changed since Sandleford warren.
Quoted Evidence: “In the same moment, the rope parted and immediately the little punt began to move along the bank in the steady current... looking back, the last thing Bigwig saw was the face of General Woundwort staring out of the gap in the willow herb where the boat had lain.”
Explanation: Bigwig and his friends escaped from Woundwort on a small boat.
Connection/Importance: The group of rabbits almost got torn to pieces by the Efrafans and they escaped narrowly by getting on a boat that carried them downstream.
Analysis/Importance-The forest can symbolize a sort of safe haven for the rabbits because it is a place where no humans inhabit and pass through day by day, however it can also be an area of great danger because it is dark, and predators can hide under the cover of bushes and other plant life.
Quoted evidence: “Rabbits avoid close woodland, where the ground is shady, damp and grassless and they feel menaced by the undergrowth…” (Adams, 22)
Explanation: The woods that are near the Sandleford warren is unknown territory, for no one any of the rabbits knew had been so far away from the warren before, and upon entering the forest, Hazel and his companions cross the threshold into the unknown world, where they only have one source of knowledge, which is Bigwig, who knows more about the human world and how things work being in the Owsla. The woods are filled with elil and the rabbits are not sure they will make it out of the woods alive.
Analysis/Importance-The herald or prophet is wise and can see into the future or has supernatural abilities. In Watership Down, Fiver is the herald or prophet. He has a few visions throughout the entire book, and in situations like when Hazel was shot, or the first warren they came to, he seemed to know what to do or what was wrong. Fiver, as the other rabbits say, is one of the few to have the second sight.
Quoted evidence: “Oh, Hazel! This is where it comes from! I know now--something very bad! Some terrible thing--coming closer and closer...The field! It’s covered with blood!...We’ve got to go away before it’s too late.” (Adams, 7-9)
Explanation: Fiver has the second sight, which the occasional rabbit has, and he foretold the destruction of the Sandleford warren, as well as other events that very much contributed to the plot of the book. For example, he knew something was wrong at Cowslip’s warren even before anyone suspected anything about the wires or the humans, and when Hazel was shot and thought to have been dead. Fiver helps throughout the book, and is the reason the journey came to a beginning and an end.
by Richard Adams
Project by Emily Pan, Sofia Marini-Higgs, and Timothy Wang