Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Watership Down in the Year of the Rabbit

I've only read Watership Down once, and that was some years ago, but one of the most memorable parts of the novel has to do with a warren of rabbits that live in the lap of luxury. All sorts of food is provided, predators are controlled -- and the price for all this is paid only occasionally, randomly, when a loop of shining wire appears and an unlucky rabbit goes missing.

But rather than consciously choosing to accept this macabre trade-off, the rabbits assiduously avoid noticing it. Snared rabbits are simply no longer talked about, as if they had never existed. It is quite off-limits to mention that you haven't seen old so-and-so recently, or to wonder what happened to him, let alone to suggest that he appears to have #DiedSuddenly! Denial -- or rather something deeper than denial, refusal-to-notice -- is to be maintained at all costs.

I'm not sure why this particular episode came to mind recently, and, well, it's not really proper to even ask that question, is it?

1 comment:

Bruce Charlton said...

Yes- it's the Cowslip's Warren episode, and starkly memorable. Another aspects is that their poet-rabbit is insane and nihilistic; and 'celebrates' with weird, ugly and pathological 'art works'.

Wigner and the infinite quarter

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