Watership Down Part 1 Study Questions

in what month does the story begin?

how did Fiver get his name?
he was the smallest and last of a 5-rabbit litter

what is the owsla? describe the character of the Sandleford Owsla
the owsla is the strongest rabbits the warren, the running clique. They surround the Chief Rabbit and are all in the 2nd year or older

describe Fivers fear
Fiver is afraid that there is something in the field that will harm the rabbits, but he doesnt know specifically what. he just has a bad feeling. He has a vision of the field covered with blood.

what physical proof exists that validates Fivers fear?
there is a sign that says the land will be developed into houses

why did Adams introduce this chapter with the quote from Agamemnon?
it is a similar situation, Cassandra, a prophet, has a negative prediction about the future, not everyone believes her

what does Fiver want the entire warren to do?
he wants the warren to leave the field before the “bad thing” comes

how does Hazel feel about this?
Hazel is conflicted, he doesnt want to believe Fiver but is afraid not to. He thinks the rest of the warren will think that Fiver is crazy

Describe Thlayli. What does his name mean?
Thlayli is Bigwig. He is a large, heavily built Owsla member with a furry head

What does Bigwig predict will happen if he takes Hazel and Fiver to see the Chief Rabbit?
that the Threarah will bite his head off (figuratively!)

What should we know about the Threarah?
he is strong, level-headed, ruthless, brave, and emotionally detached (unlike most rabbits who are impulsive and excitable). He once saved the entire warren from destruction. His name means ‘rowandry’

what are outskirters?
the rabbits who are not the Owsla; the common-people with no power

what does Hazel tell the Threarah about Fivers track record?
Fiver is good at predicting bad things, his predictions are always right

What 3 initial questions does the Threarah ask Fiver?
-What type of danger?
-What should we do about it?
-What are you thinking yourself?

What additional rhetorical questions does the Threarah ask?
-It’s May, isn’t it?
-THat’s a rather tall order isn’t it?

What is Fiver’s reaction?
There’s no time to think about it, the rabbits need to leave. He almost has a panic attack

What happens to Bigwig at the end of the meeting?
Just as he predicted, he gets his head bitten off by the Threarah

What does Hazel believe about Fiver’s prediction? Why?
Hazel believes Fiver because she plans on leaving with him. The prediction scares her.

What are Bigwig’s reasons for leaving the Owsla?
The Threarah is unpleasant and annoying, and the priveldges of being in the Owsla aren’t a big deal, and Bigwig voices his opinion by leaving the Owsla

What do you learn from Bigwig’s personality from the fact that he was going to leave the warren over his encounter with the chief?
he sticks up for what he believes in and is hot-headed

What do you learn from Bigwig’s personality from his comment “Then you’ll be leaving the warren?” to Fiver and Hazel?
he’s blunt and straight to the point

What do you learn from Bigwig’s personality from Hazel’s private assessment of Bigwig?
he might be independent and difficult to get along with, but would still be helpful and powerful

Why is Blackberry leaving?
There are too many bucks in the warren and life is not fun if you are not in the Owsla

What is Hazel’s first directive to the other rabbits?
Persuade other rabbits to join them and leave the warren

Hazel says the Threarah wasn’t convinced by Fiver because the Threarah…
doesn’t like any ideas that he doesn’t come up with himself

When will the rabbits depart?
fu inle (after moonrise)

What happens when the band of rabbits is leaving?
Holly, leader of the Owsla tries to arrest Bigwig because he believes they want to start a revolution. However, they fight back and leave

Describe Hazel
intelligent, insightful, measured, shrewed and has a buoyant air, lively, natural leader, loyal, quick-thinking

Describe Fiver
prophet with a 6th sense, quiet, intelligent, small, nervous

Describe Bigwig
previous member of the Owsla, strong, independent, does not like taking orders, hot-headed

Describe Blackberry
intelligent, creative, small, black-tipped ears

Describe Pipkin
timid and scared but still loyal, very small, friend of Fiver, hesitant; other name is Hlao

Describe Hawkbit
slow, stupid, tetious to deal with

Describe Dandelion
fast, clever, brave, talks a lot

Describe Buckthorn
tough and sturdy, strong, large, quiet, straightfoward

Describe Speedwell and Acorn
typiccal outskirters, 6 months

Describe Silver
grey, hefty, quiet, straightfoward, previous member of the Owsla; the Threarah’s nephew

What courageous action does Hazel take at the bend in the path?
Hazel goes forward himself to make sure that the way is safe

Who is El-ahrairah?
“The Prince of a Thousand Enemies” the rabbit’s folk hero “Robin Hood” figure

an old, wise rabbit who went through many tribulations but always came out victorious

Dandelion tells many stories about him

Who is Frith?
the sun, who the rabbits see as a god

What trick does Frith play on El-ahrairah?
Frith announces that he will give all the animals a gift to make them unique. He gives the fox, stoat, and weasel the cunning and fierceness to kill El-ahrairah and his children. El-ahrairah spends too much time celebrating the idea of getting a gift, that he misses his chance to actually get it

How does Frith bless El-ahrairah?
He blesses his bottom half, giving him a shining white tail and long, powerful hind legs that will enable him to escape from most of his enemies
-strength, warming, speed

What does this legend explain about the rabbits?
why rabbits have tails and long, powerful hind legs and explains the rabbits need of speed and wit

Why does Hazel predict Bigwig will be troublesome?
Although not a coward, he would only remain stable as long as things are clear. To him perplexity is worse that danger. Confusion angers him

How does Hazel restore Bigwig’s assurance?
He flatters Bigwig and makes him feel good about what he did

What is a lendri?
a badger

Why does Fiver insist that they must cross the Enborne?
so they can get to the fields and beyond. they need to find a place that is high up, lonely, has dry soil, and no people

What does Bigwig say as soon as he pulls himself out of the river? Why?
he says that they need to go now because there is a loose dog in the woods

Why does Hazel refuse to go?
she wants to wait for Fiver and Pipkin to be ready and able to swim across the river

What does Hazel admire about Bigwig’s reaction?
he is brave, and is in no hurry on his own account, being selfless

What is Blackberry’s idea?
to have Fiver and Pipkin float down the river on a piece of flatwood

How is Blackberry gifted?
He is very smart and inventive

What does Bigwig do to assist the crossing?
He pushes the raft forward with his head

What three rabbits attack the crow?
Hazel, Bigwig, and Silver

What was causing Pipkin’s limp?
a thorn in his paw

What kinds of knowledge do other animals have that humans have lost?
a sense of weather, direction, and the judgement of passing time

What are hrududil?
tractors, cars, or other motor vehicles

What is Bigwig’s theory regarding hrududil?
They aren’t that dangerous, and are not alive. They use lights to hypnotize, are not alive, and are operated by Frith

Why does Blackberry disagree?
He thinks they’re dangerous because he sees a dead hedgehog that got run over

Who are the mutineers, and why do they wish to go back?
Hawkbit, Speedwell, and Acorn because they think that Fiver is wrong about the danger and they don’t trust Hazel’s leadership

How does Hazel respond?
She uses reason, but doesn’t get defensive

What does Bigwig do with the mutineers?
He greatly chastises them, threatens them, and bits Hawkbit

How far are the rabbits from the downs now?
4 miles

What does Hazel say about going that far?
the others won’t be willing to go that far because they’re scared and tired

What does Fiver fear?
that the rabbits are in trouble because they’re being deceived and lost, there is some kind of mysterious trouble

Compare Hazel and Bigwig’s leadership styles
Hazel: smart, uses reason and logic
Bigwig: strong, brutal, uses force and fear

Who is Chief Rabbit of the hlessil band?

Describe Cowslip
detached, but friendly and relaxed; beautiful, well-groomed, large, unusual smell, impression and wealth/good upbringing and health

What question does Bigwig ask Cowslip?
Who are you and what do you want?

What question does Fiver ask Cowslip?
Can we trust you? Are there many other rabbits here?

How does Hazel lead when deciding what to do about Cowslip’s warren?
He is very direct in questioning the rabbits and leads through consensus

What is Hazel’s prayer to El-ahrairah?
That meeting the rabbits in Cowslip’s warren is the right thing to do

Match the quotes: “We have to leave this place at once”

Match the quotes: “What do they stand to get from asking us to join the warren?”

Match the quotes: “If we’re going to live here we’ll have to get on terms with them sooner or later”

Match the quotes: “I’m not afraid to try it out. If they do try any tricks they’ll find that I know a few myself”

Match the quotes: “That’s how I feel myself. I just wanted to know if you did.”

Match the quotes: “How long have rabbits been elil?”

What is unusual about Cowslip’s warren and the rabbits who inhabit it? (give at least 5)
-it is not hidden
-it’s unusually large
-they don’t have a chief rabbit
-the rabbits are all friendly; not at all suspicious
-there’s an area made of bricks
-the run is straight instead of bow-shaped
-images on the wall of El-ahrairah
-they feed underground
-no elil (enemies) around
-unusual smell (healthy, prosperous smell)
-make formal dancing movements
-no scouting parties
-they don’t ask or answer questions

What does Pipkin notice about the other rabbits?
they seem sad and like they are not good fighters

What does Pipkin compare the other rabbits to?
trees in November

What is flayrah?
unusually good food (ex: lettuce)

What does Fiver say he knows about the warren?
There is something unnatural and evil about it

What does Fiver say the roof of the warren is made of?

What questions do the other rabbits consistently refuse to answer?
any question beginning with ‘where’

Vocab: sewer or drain passing under a road or embankment

Vocab: being seen or seeming to be everywhere at the same time; omnipresent

Vocab: stinking

Vocab: difficult to bear; harsh

Vocab: stupefied, distraught, hypnotized with fear; looking foolish, heartbroken, forlorn

Vocab: characterized by brash behavior or impertinent disrespect

Vocab: about to occur; impending

Vocab: a thicket of small trees or shrubs

Vocab: dead and decaying flesh

Vocab: characterized by communication through means other than the senses, as by the exercise of mystical powers

Vocab: presenting favorable circumstances

Vocab: having a sharp point or tip; keenly perceptive or discerning

Vocab: interchanged, given, or owed mutually

Vocab: engaged in deep thoughtfulness

Vocab: disinclination to exert oneself

Vocab: fern; an area overgrown with ferns

Vocab: confusing; puzzling; bewildering

Vocab: a state of listless weakness, exhaustion, or torpor

Vocab: thoroughly soaked

Vocab: east to notice; obvious

Vocab: of an experimental nature; uncertain

Vocab: acts of evaluation

Vocab: filled with cheer; casual; carefree

Vocab: producing a display of luminous rainbow-like colors

Vocab: a place to sleep; a built-in bed or bunk on a ship or train

Vocab: knotty or misshapen

Vocab: suggestive; reminiscent; aromatic

Vocab: seeking and enjoying the company of others; sociable; tending to move in a group

Vocab: having or showing the refined manners of polite society

Vocab: seemingly valid, likely, or acceptable; giving a deceptive impression of truth; specious

Vocab: to incur the dislike of; to counteract

Vocab: dexterous; deft; skillful and adept under pressing conditions

Vocab: to prattle and chatter unintelligibly

Vocab: not readily noticable

Vocab: lack of due respect or dutifulness

Vocab: disbelieving; skeptical

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