Visitors - Bless my Tail! Welcome to Fiver's Honeycomb!


This place is dedicated to Watership Down and its fans worldwide.

Here you can discuss all WD-related media, including both books, the movie and both TV series.

What? You are not registered yet?

Poll

Is 'Watership Down' an unconcious religious allegory?

No - As Adams said it is just a story about rabbits
4 (50%)
Yes - Hazel is almost certainly a Jesus-like or prophet-esque figure
1 (12.5%)
Yes - Frith, the Black Rabbit of Inlé and El-ahrairah make up a Trinity of sorts
0 (0%)
Yes - But not necessarily on a Christian level
1 (12.5%)
Other - Discuss below
2 (25%)

Total Members Voted: 7

Author Topic: Is 'Watership Down' an Unconscious Religious Allegory?  (Read 743 times)

Offline Thethuthinnang_Siddal

  • Lover of Lapine Lore
  • Hlessi
  • *
  • Posts: 25
  • Lover of fiction, film, history and theology. :)
    • Show only replies by Thethuthinnang_Siddal
    • View Profile
    • fhc.soopergrape
  • Favorite WD media: The book
Is 'Watership Down' an Unconscious Religious Allegory?
« on: January 19, 2020, 07:37:04 PM »
I know that Richard Adams once said that his novel is not some complex allegory. But I am afraid I disagree, as I believe that he unconsciously wrote a very human story that is rife with profound meaning. I do not think that this is unfaithful to the author's own assertion, as like any other written medium on the planet, one can take whatever meaning that they want from it. We establish our likes, dislikes and opinions, by looking for what things mean to us, thanks to insatiable human curiosity. Bearing in mind how deeply ingrained history and belief (but not necessarily religiously speaking,) are in our culture, I think that Adams unconsciously assigned religious symbolism to certain literary archetypes. Hazel desires only to lead his people, but sometimes he doubts, just as Jesus and his followers did and do during their ministry. Fiver (and Hyzenthlay to an extent) have a prophetic second-sight: humans are sensitive to feeling and intuition and some have Divine truths revealed to them that others do not. The rabbits live by moral tales, similar to the parables. Indeed, I believe that by far the most interesting of such stories, woven in-between the chapters, is the one that concerns El-ahrairah and the Black Rabbit. To me it is very reminiscent of the story of Job. He maintains his faith in Frith and his desire to save his people, despite his suffering. Sorry if you think that this is a stretch too far, but I am embarking on a university course in Theology later this year. I can't help but think like this... :lol Please let me know what you think!

Thethuthinnang_Siddal   :inle-movie
Here to discuss Adams' wonderful novel with like-minded fans. I first saw the 1978 film about a decade ago and have loved it all my life, however I now realise that I love the book even more.

Offline Thethuthinnang_Siddal

  • Lover of Lapine Lore
  • Hlessi
  • *
  • Posts: 25
  • Lover of fiction, film, history and theology. :)
    • Show only replies by Thethuthinnang_Siddal
    • View Profile
    • fhc.soopergrape
  • Favorite WD media: The book
Re: Is 'Watership Down' an Unconscious Religious Allegory?
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2020, 06:56:06 PM »
In my view the reason why Adams said "It's just a story about rabbits" is brilliant and because it is your personal way to see the story. If you see allegory thats great, if you see a light-fantasy documetary style story, great, if you see an adventure novel for all ages it's great too. That is one of the point why I think Watership Down is a really great literature.
I know other people in other ages and cultures and really good to hear what they experienced and how they enjoyed this story. It's a kind of type of wonderful writing skills.

I completely agree! :exactly He said that it was "a story for everyone", which I think indicates that he wanted his readers to make it their own. Good stories are made to be shared.

Thethuthinnang_Siddal :snowdrop
Here to discuss Adams' wonderful novel with like-minded fans. I first saw the 1978 film about a decade ago and have loved it all my life, however I now realise that I love the book even more.

Offline CockatielPony

  • Blackberry
  • ******
  • Posts: 1033
    • Show only replies by CockatielPony
    • View Profile
  • Favorite WD media: The book
  • FHC contest winner:
  • I speak:
Re: Is 'Watership Down' an Unconscious Religious Allegory?
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2020, 01:54:58 AM »
I do see Havel more similar to Moses than Jesus since I relate Havel freeing the Efrafins to Moses freeing the slaves. I just thought of something. Both Watership Down and the story of Moses escape their enemy with tricks involving water: Moses parts the red sea, The rabbits float down a river on a boat.
My Youtube account is CockatielPony. Go check it out i post stuff

Offline Acacia Heartstrings

  • Fiver
  • *******
  • Posts: 2335
    • Show only replies by Acacia Heartstrings
    • View Profile
    • DeviantArt
  • Favorite WD media: N/A
  • I speak:
Re: Is 'Watership Down' an Unconscious Religious Allegory?
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2020, 07:38:18 PM »
He has nothing religious, I'm sure of that. They have their beliefs, stories and concerns, but nothing like religion.
I love Watership Down!
 
Everything is fine =) (?)

Offline Thethuthinnang_Siddal

  • Lover of Lapine Lore
  • Hlessi
  • *
  • Posts: 25
  • Lover of fiction, film, history and theology. :)
    • Show only replies by Thethuthinnang_Siddal
    • View Profile
    • fhc.soopergrape
  • Favorite WD media: The book
Re: Is 'Watership Down' an Unconscious Religious Allegory?
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2020, 10:40:43 AM »
I do see Havel more similar to Moses than Jesus since I relate Havel freeing the Efrafins to Moses freeing the slaves. I just thought of something. Both Watership Down and the story of Moses escape their enemy with tricks involving water: Moses parts the red sea, The rabbits float down a river on a boat.

Indeed! I thought that too. :yes

Thethuthinnang_Siddal
Here to discuss Adams' wonderful novel with like-minded fans. I first saw the 1978 film about a decade ago and have loved it all my life, however I now realise that I love the book even more.

Offline Thethuthinnang_Siddal

  • Lover of Lapine Lore
  • Hlessi
  • *
  • Posts: 25
  • Lover of fiction, film, history and theology. :)
    • Show only replies by Thethuthinnang_Siddal
    • View Profile
    • fhc.soopergrape
  • Favorite WD media: The book
Re: Is 'Watership Down' an Unconscious Religious Allegory?
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2020, 10:43:06 AM »
He has nothing religious, I'm sure of that. They have their beliefs, stories and concerns, but nothing like religion.

Pretty sure Adams was religious though, hence why I believe it was unconscious on his part. What is Frith if not a God, or Divine entity? If the rabbits aren't religious they are at least very spiritual.

Thethuthinnang_Siddal :violet
Here to discuss Adams' wonderful novel with like-minded fans. I first saw the 1978 film about a decade ago and have loved it all my life, however I now realise that I love the book even more.

Offline Chipster-roo

  • Growing Tree
  • Council of Chiefs
  • Fiver
  • *******
  • Posts: 4420
    • Show only replies by Chipster-roo
    • View Profile
    • http://www.fanfiction.net/u/6400714/Chipster-roo
  • Favorite WD media: The book
  • FHC contest winner:
  • I speak:
Re: Is 'Watership Down' an Unconscious Religious Allegory?
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2020, 01:31:42 AM »
The comparison of the escape from Efrafa with Exodus is pretty fascinating; I had never thought of it this way before.

I remember that in chapter 25, Dandelion tells a flood story, similar not only to the tale of Noah in Genesis, but also part of the ancient Epic of Gilgamesh, which is quoted at the beginning of another chapter.

Initially, I was going to say that the rabbits' religion was monotheistic (with Frith as the supreme and only deity) but then I remembered Prince Rainbow.  I'm not sure where :prince-rainbow would fit in all this, especially considering how he both helps and hinders El-ahrairah, depending on the tale.
Have you considered making each day count - doing something meaningful each day - instead of letting the days and weeks and months and years fly into oblivion? --Bright Side

Thanks to Rosie Willowwater for the avatar!!


Offline Thethuthinnang_Siddal

  • Lover of Lapine Lore
  • Hlessi
  • *
  • Posts: 25
  • Lover of fiction, film, history and theology. :)
    • Show only replies by Thethuthinnang_Siddal
    • View Profile
    • fhc.soopergrape
  • Favorite WD media: The book
Re: Is 'Watership Down' an Unconscious Religious Allegory?
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2020, 09:38:11 AM »
The comparison of the escape from Efrafa with Exodus is pretty fascinating; I had never thought of it this way before.

I remember that in chapter 25, Dandelion tells a flood story, similar not only to the tale of Noah in Genesis, but also part of the ancient Epic of Gilgamesh, which is quoted at the beginning of another chapter.

Every time someone posts on this thread, I am reminded how complex and multi-layered the meaning and symbolism of Adams' book really is.

Thank you for your comments everyone!

Thethuthinang_Siddal :vilthuril

Initially, I was going to say that the rabbits' religion was monotheistic (with Frith as the supreme and only deity) but then I remembered Prince Rainbow.  I'm not sure where :prince-rainbow would fit in all this, especially considering how he both helps and hinders El-ahrairah, depending on the tale.
Here to discuss Adams' wonderful novel with like-minded fans. I first saw the 1978 film about a decade ago and have loved it all my life, however I now realise that I love the book even more.

Offline Kili

  • Pipkin
  • **
  • Posts: 91
    • Show only replies by Kili
    • View Profile
  • Favorite WD media: The book
Re: Is 'Watership Down' an Unconscious Religious Allegory?
« Reply #8 on: February 29, 2020, 12:41:57 AM »
They have a mythology which is told in their stories, but a religous allergery? No. It's more commentry on different political systems and the determental impact people have on nature, whether it is deliberate (like the destruction of the Sandleford warren) or accidental, like the roads and railway.

Offline Alderab

  • Dandelion
  • ****
  • Posts: 610
    • Show only replies by Alderab
    • View Profile
  • Favorite WD media: The book
  • I speak:
Re: Is 'Watership Down' an Unconscious Religious Allegory?
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2020, 11:37:29 PM »
Speaking of the need for everything needing to be a metaphor, I remember seeing this on the WSD wikipedia page before I dove into the book:

"the author Rachel Kadish, reflecting on her own superimposition of the founding of Israel onto Watership Down, has remarked "Turns out plenty of other people have seen their histories in that book ... some people see it as an allegory for struggles against the Cold War, fascism, extremism ... a protest against materialism, against the corporate state. Watership Down can be Ireland after the famine, Rwanda after the massacres.""

So it seems like people will always see what they want to see in a book.  Even if I might just see it as a fun adventure story with rabbits, there are things which I could draw parallels with if I tried.

I guess its the old adage of there being no such thing as an original story, just many ways of retelling it.
You like writing?  I like writing!  Let's Write!

http://fhc.soopergrape.com/index.php?topic=2357.0

Offline Chipster-roo

  • Growing Tree
  • Council of Chiefs
  • Fiver
  • *******
  • Posts: 4420
    • Show only replies by Chipster-roo
    • View Profile
    • http://www.fanfiction.net/u/6400714/Chipster-roo
  • Favorite WD media: The book
  • FHC contest winner:
  • I speak:
Re: Is 'Watership Down' an Unconscious Religious Allegory?
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2020, 11:49:36 PM »
That's actually pretty interesting.

Richard Adams repeatedly denied in interviews that WD was supposed to be a metaphor or allegory.  But it can still be interpreted in many different (and sometimes contradictory) ways.
Have you considered making each day count - doing something meaningful each day - instead of letting the days and weeks and months and years fly into oblivion? --Bright Side

Thanks to Rosie Willowwater for the avatar!!


Offline Alderab

  • Dandelion
  • ****
  • Posts: 610
    • Show only replies by Alderab
    • View Profile
  • Favorite WD media: The book
  • I speak:
Re: Is 'Watership Down' an Unconscious Religious Allegory?
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2020, 12:03:05 AM »
It makes me wonder if something like Orwell's "Animal Farm" would be seen as an allegory for the Russian Revolution if it wasn't said explicitly.

It seems like readers seem to like to interpret the intent of the author different than the author!
You like writing?  I like writing!  Let's Write!

http://fhc.soopergrape.com/index.php?topic=2357.0

Offline Chipster-roo

  • Growing Tree
  • Council of Chiefs
  • Fiver
  • *******
  • Posts: 4420
    • Show only replies by Chipster-roo
    • View Profile
    • http://www.fanfiction.net/u/6400714/Chipster-roo
  • Favorite WD media: The book
  • FHC contest winner:
  • I speak:
Re: Is 'Watership Down' an Unconscious Religious Allegory?
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2020, 12:17:19 AM »
I haven't read Animal Farm, but isn't the pig called Napoleon?  Some people might perhaps associate him with the actual historical Napoleon.

Also, the Animal Farm animated film was funded by the CIA.
Have you considered making each day count - doing something meaningful each day - instead of letting the days and weeks and months and years fly into oblivion? --Bright Side

Thanks to Rosie Willowwater for the avatar!!


Offline Alderab

  • Dandelion
  • ****
  • Posts: 610
    • Show only replies by Alderab
    • View Profile
  • Favorite WD media: The book
  • I speak:
Re: Is 'Watership Down' an Unconscious Religious Allegory?
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2020, 12:33:30 AM »
I haven't either, but I know the sparknotes.  It might be seen as a generic rebels finally get a hold of power and suddenly become the oppressors themselves that plays out sadly too many times in history.

"No guys, I really just wanted to write a fun kids story about what would happen if the animals overthrew the farmer!"
-Not Orwell

Also, the Animal Farm animated film was funded by the CIA.
Was it REALLY?
You like writing?  I like writing!  Let's Write!

http://fhc.soopergrape.com/index.php?topic=2357.0

Offline Hammy

  • Hawkbit
  • *****
  • Posts: 868
    • Show only replies by Hammy
    • View Profile
  • Favorite WD media: N/A
  • I speak:
Re: Is 'Watership Down' an Unconscious Religious Allegory?
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2020, 12:52:04 AM »
There's several pigs, but Napoleon is the main one.

I read it in middle school. Is p gud. But big-time allegory.

"No guys, I really just wanted to write a fun kids story about what would happen if the animals overthrew the farmer!"
-Not Orwell
Orwell and Adams, opposite ends of the dichotomy.