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Watership Down by Richard Adams


Group Members:
Ben N *since no one has stepped up as a facilitator, I wouldn't not mind being it
Dustin M
Lexi P
Catie M
Val C.*

Discussion Time:
Friday January 8th 4B 11:09-12:39

Agenda:
11:09-11:15 Discussion Facilitator and Participant's Names

11:15-11:20 Clarifying Questions

11:20-11:40 Characters *Important*

Hazel, Bigwig, Fiver
Hazel vs Bigwig
Hazel vs General Woundwort
Hazel's role as a leader
Fiver's role as the seer
Bigwig's role as the fighter
Kehaar's role
El-ahrairah
Blackberry
Dandelion
*How did Hazel utilize the skills of all of the other rabbits to lead them to safety*
- How could Hazel's leadership and General Woundwort's leadership similar, and how are they different?
°The roles of other creatures (i.e. the dog, mouse, etc.)

11:40-11:45 Narration
told mostly from the perspective of the rabbits
- Not necessarily from the perspective of the rabbits. If you read through the chapters where Dandelion was telling a story or tall tale, you will find the story written almost as a tall tale or story told by someone else. You get "hazel thought.." or bigwig thought. Its not from the perspective of the rabbits persay, but more of almost story-teller like.
Does that make sense?
*Yes, it does make sense that it's from the perspective of the story teller. The intro talks about how this was originally a story Adams told to his kids on long car rides*

11:45-11:50 Setting
four rabbit warrens in rural England-- the doomed sandleford warren, the warren full of snares, the authoritarian Efrafa, and the ideal Watership down.
°What are the similarities and differences between the four warrens?

11:50-12:10 Themes/Motifs *Important*
*I focused in on their relationships with Man. The rabbits always complained about man, yet his inventions like the railroad, boat, and Doctor's car ended up saving them in the end. Very interesting.*

*Also what about El-ahrairah? All his stories and legends? And at the end how the mothers were telling stories about Hazel as if he was El-ahrairah.*
- Only one mother was witnessed to talk about Hazel as El-ahrairah, and she was from the Efrafa Warren. Is it possible they compare Hazel to El-ahrairah because he outsmarted his enemies, and used his own wits and tricks to keep safe. And also the fact that El-ahairah cared for his people very much, and because Hazel shared that same trait, could it be possible it's just a comparison.

*And how the rabbits who tried to live out of their natural abilities ended up worse off. The first warren they went too where they met Cowslip. Also at Efrafa.*

*As I understand it, the book was written off of a story the author told to his kids. What was he trying to teach his kids through this story, or was he trying to teach them anything at all?*

Adams notes that rabbits are like humans in many ways. We should discuss in what ways this is true and to what extent it is shown throughout the book.

Individual freedom is important, but it must be balanced by social responsibility. Humans must show respect for the natural world. Peace is much more preferable to war.

12:10-12:15 Style of Writing

12:15-12:30 Significant Passages *Important*
*I have so many I'll wait for you guys to put some down*

"That's the place for us...High, lonely hills, where the wind and the sound carry and the ground's as dry as straw in a barn...That's where we have to get to."

°This one stood out to me:
“‘El-ahrairah, your people cannot rule the world, for I will not have it so. All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you, digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks and your people shall never be destroyed’” (page 37).

12:30-12:40 Outside Resources
*The intro at the beginning of the book I found very helpful in understanding the context of the story*
*Is this an epic? This is one of the main questions I had about this story. I found it very similar to the Lord of the Rings series except in a Rabbit version. Did you guys see this? Research Carl Jung and read about his architype philosophy. I think it really relates to this book and how each of the characters Hazel brings along with him has his own role and contributes the best he can to the success of the group.*
*http://go.galegroup.com.prxy2.ursus.maine.edu/ps/retrieve.do?sgHitCountType=None&sort=RELEVANCE&inPS=true&prodId=LitRC&userGroupName=maine&tabID=T001&searchId=R1&resultListType=RESULT_LIST&contentSegment=&searchType=BasicSearchForm&currentPosition=1&contentSet=GALE|H1420075709&&docId=GALE|H1420075709&docType=GALE&role=LitRC*

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archetype*

Protocol:
*I would really like to focus in on one character and one passage for our discussion to help carry on the overall discussion. You know, we could keep referring back to something like that. Do you guys agree?*

I agree Ben. I think we might want to focus in on Hazel and the leadership ability that he shown in becoming the leader at the Sandleford warren. I think there are a lot of instances about Hazel that we could focus our discussion on, and if you want to do that Hazel would probably be the best. I think this is a long journey and there are many points that we could talk about along the way. I think that we could also keep broad parameters and just talk about instances along that journey. We have a lot of time, so we could do both. Whatever works.

*Means comment made by Ben Nickerson*
- Comments by Lexi Pelletier
°Comments by Catie M

Audio of the Book Talk