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LBC - Watership Down by Richard Adams

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Watershipdown LOST Book Club - LBC

SPOILER NOTICE - YOU MAY WANT TO AVOID THIS BLOG UNTIL YOU HAVE FINISHED READING THIS BOOK

Watership Down is a heroic fantasy novel about a small group of rabbits, written by English author Richard Adams.

In the Sandleford warren, Fiver, a young runt rabbit who is a seer, receives a frightening vision of his warren's imminent destruction. When he and his brother Hazel fail to convince their chief rabbit of the need to evacuate, they set out on their own with a small band of rabbits to search for a new home, barely eluding the Owsla, the warren's military caste.

LOST References

  • Watership Down originally belonged to Boone, as he had it checked with his luggage on Flight 815. Kate finds the book by the beach with Sawyer's belongings, and he tells her, Hell of a book. It's about bunnies. Boone finds the book in Sawyer's luggage, leading him to believe that Sawyer has the rest of his luggage, including Shannon's asthma inhalers. Confidence Man
  • The book is seen on Sawyer's chest of drawers in the flash-sideways timeline. Recon
  • One of the chapters in the book is also named Dea Ex Machina (much like Deus Ex Machina), after the literary device used to unexpectedly untangle plot situations. In this case, Dea is the feminine counterpart of the masculine Deus.
  • The remedy is worse than the disease, one of several possible translations of the Latin phrase Aegrescit medendo, which is written on the blast door map, and is a direct quote from Watership Down. It is spoken by the Chief Rabbit in the chapter "For El-Ahrairah to Cry", in Part Two. He means that it would be easier for the community to stay where they are and hope to survive the catastrophe that threatens them, rather than evacuate.
  • In the 1978 animated movie of Watership Down, the opening scene focuses on a close-up of the lead character's eye, just as in LOST
  • The protagonists of the book are rabbits, which are a recurring theme on LOST.


The Author

Richard George Adams (born 9 May 1920) is an English novelist who is best known as the author of Watership Down.

Watership Down began as a story Richard Adams told to his two daughters, Juliet and Rosamond, on a long car journey; in an interview, Adams said he began telling the story of the rabbits ... improvised off the top of my head, as we were driving along. He based the struggles of the animals in the story on the struggles he and his friends encountered during the Battle of Oosterbeek, Arnhem, the Netherlands in 1944. His daughters insisted he write it down—they were very, very persistent—and though he initially delayed, he eventually began writing in the evenings, completing it eighteen months later. The book is dedicated to his daughters.


Quotes

To Juliet and Rosamund,

remembering the road to Stratford-on-Avon

—Dedication, Watership Down

Since leaving the warren of the snares they had become warier, shrewder, a tenacious band who understood each other and worked together… There was no more quarreling… They had come closer together, relying on and valuing each other’s capacities. They knew now that it was on these and on nothing else that their lives depended…

— Richard Adams, Watership Down

I think we ought to do all we can to make these creatures friendly. It might turn out to be well worth the trouble.

— Hazel, Watership Down


The Characters

  • Hazel: The protagonist, Fiver's brother; he leads the rabbits from Sandleford and eventually becomes Chief Rabbit.
  • Fiver: A small runt rabbit whose name literally means "Little-five" or "Little-many" (rabbits have a single word, "hrair", for all numbers greater than four; Fiver's name in Lapine, Hrairu, indicates that he is the smallest of a litter of five or more rabbits).
  • Bigwig: An ex-Owsla officer, and the largest rabbit of the group. His name in Lapine is Thlayli, which literally means "Fur-head" and refers to the shock of fur on the back of his head.
  • Blackavar: A rabbit with very dark fur who tries to escape from Efrafa but is apprehended, mutilated, and put on display to discourage further escape attempts.
  • Kehaar: A Black-headed Gull who is forced, by an injured wing, to take refuge on Watership Down.
  • General Woundwort: A vicious, cruel and brutally efficient rabbit who was orphaned at a young age, Woundwort founded the Efrafa warren and is its tyrannical chief.
  • Frith: A god-figure who created the world and promised that rabbits would always be allowed to thrive. In Lapine, his name literally means "the sun".
  • El-ahrairah: A rabbit trickster folk hero, who is the protagonist of nearly all of the rabbits' stories. In Lapine, his name is a contraction of the phrase Elil-hrair-rah, which means "prince with a thousand enemies".
  • Black Rabbit of Inlé: A sinister phantom servant of the god Frith who appears in rabbit folklore. "Inlé" is the Lapine term for the moon or darkness.


Discussion Points

  • What is unique about the setting of the story?
Does this setting enhance or take away from the story?
  • What specific themes are discovered throughout the story?
Do you see any themes also relating to the story of LOST?
What is the message conveyed by the story themes?
  • Do the characters seem real and believable?
Which characters remind you of similar characters in LOST?
Are their predicaments similar to any in LOST?
  • How do characters change or evolve in the story?
What triggers those changes?
What are the similarities and differences with LOST characters?
  • What are the philosophical views portrayed in the story?
How is it the same/different from LOST's philosophical view?

Discussion Guidelines

  • Be specific and provide examples to back up your point of view.
  • To make the discussion more interesting, feel free to ask your own questions.
  • Please be considerate of all points of view.
  • Encourage participation.


Happy Reading and Thanks!

--Just Sayin' JSTalk LBC LBCTalk eMail 11:41, August 16, 2010 (UTC)

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