The Use of Myth in Watership Down

Topics: Watership Down, Rabbit, Domestic rabbit Pages: 4 (1671 words) Published: June 8, 2005
As you grow up, you have always been told stories to either scare you into not doing something, like if you don't go to bed, the boogeyman will come and get you; or stories that give you hope, inspire you, make you dream, or help you to the next step in your life. You've heard these stories from your parents, your grandparents, your aunts and uncles; you've practically heard a story from everybody in your family down to the old lady who lives down the street. People just want you to learn from their mistakes or to let you know that things will always work out. Some stories are based on real life experiences while others are simply myths. A myth is defined as: "A traditional, typically ancient story dealing with supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes that serves as a fundamental type in the worldview of a people, as by explaining aspects of the natural world or delineating the psychology, customs, or ideals of society." The stories told in Watership Down fall under this category. The myths in Watership Down were about El-ahrairah and they were told to inspire Hazel, Fiver, Big Wig, and all the other rabbits to not give up until they are safely away from their warren, leave another warren, and to save what they've worked so hard to attain. These myths about El-ahrairah help to keep one of the central themes of the story alive: hope, survival, and perseverance.

The first myth told in Watership Down: "The Story of the Blessing of El-ahrairah" tell us about how rabbits came to be so fast and how they can sense danger as well. In the words of Frith: "Bottom, be strength and warning and speed forever and save the life of your master." (pg. 26) This story was told to the rabbits when they had just left their warren and they were scared because they didn't know where they were or where they were going. Not only did they not know where they were going, they encounter a dog and a river. The dog was behind them in the woods and the river was in front of...
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