Watership Down

by

Richard Adams

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Watership Down: Chapter 48 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
A little girl named Lucy awakens to a sharp sound from outside. It is Thursday, and Lucy wonders what the day will bring. She knows her father will go to the market, and the Doctor will come to see her mother. Lucy hears another sharp sound and jumps from bed to look out the window. She sees one of the barn cats with something in its mouth—a rat, she assumes. She calls to it, and when it looks up, she sees that the cat has got a rabbit, which kicks and squeals.
In this chapter, Adams provides a glimpse into the human world as the little girl who lives at Nuthanger farm, Lucy, discovers Hazel being accosted by one of her cats.
Themes
Violence and Power Theme Icon
Lucy runs downstairs and shoos the cat away from the wounded rabbit. She picks the poor thing up and brings it back up to the house. Her father, on his way out, reprimands her for bringing rabbits in the house, and demands she hand the thing over. Lucy begins to cry—she does not want the rabbit to be killed. Lucy begs to bring the rabbit to the Doctor, and her father, frustrated relents. Before Lucy brings the rabbit back up to the house, her father asks her if she’s seen Bob the dog—he’s slipped his rope and gotten out.
Lucy clearly has a kind heart and is invested in Hazel’s survival. She provides a stark contrast to the indifferent or even cruel men the novel has presented thus far. Lucy provides a bit of hope after a long period of darkness, and her kindness suggests that all is not lost in the overlap between the world of rabbits and the world of humans.
Themes
Violence and Power Theme Icon
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
Later that morning, when the Doctor arrives, Lucy rushes out to greet him. Bob the dog is coming up the lane—his nose is scratched and his leg is bitten, and Doctor Adams suggests a “big rat” might have gotten to him. Lucy asks the Doctor to look at her rabbit, and he agrees to after visiting her mother. After giving the rabbit a once-over, the Doctor says his injuries aren’t all that bad, and suggests Lucy release the wild animal out into the field. He offers Lucy to come along in the car with him and bring the rabbit to a nearby down. Lucy agrees, and together they drive down the road, stop, and release the rabbit into the wild.
The Doctor, too, is a kind man who wants the rabbit—Hazel—to live his best life free in the wild. Lucy and Doctor Adams’s compassion shines a beacon of hope after a period of great darkness in the novel and suggests that sometimes the kindness of strangers can allow one to find one’s way home in the end.
Themes
The Epic Journey  Theme Icon
Home and Belonging Theme Icon