Despite the fact that I feel as though I have been constantly reading, I am only about halfway through Watership Down (another 150 or so pages since last writing). I suppose that is pretty good since I had to work late on Friday, and we went to a cookout yesterday. I don’t want to spend ALL my free time reading, even if I do want to hit this goal in a relatively short amount of time!
The good news is that the story has picked up. I don’t want to talk about too much so I don’t give anything away. My hope is that I can convince people to read some of these books themselves (or steer clear in some cases). The rabbits have had more exciting encounters and finally made it to Watership Down. I am preparing myself for more tragedy. I had a scare about 100 pages in, which I wasn’t expecting until much later, but don’t worry, I recovered.
My plan is to completely review the book when I am finished, but I thought I would remark on a couple lines that really stuck with me. The first is just a nice quote, that I am actually going to try to use from now on, and it is the title of this post. “Human beings say, ‘It never rains but it pours.’ This is not very apt, for it frequently does rain without pouring. The rabbits’ proverb is better expressed. They say, ‘One cloud feels lonely’: and indeed it is true that the appearance of a single cloud often means that the sky will soon be overcast.” (p184).
The second quote touches on the affect of man on the world. To give some background: elil are preying animals, such as foxes, cats, and owls. Frith is the sun, or god, to the rabbits. Holly is telling the story of how their original warren was destroyed. Fiver makes a comment that there is “terrible evil in the world.” Holly responds with this: “It comes from men. All other elil do what they have to do and Frith moves them as he moves us. They live on earth and they need food. Men will never rest till they’ve spoiled the earth and destroyed the animals.” (p. 157)
It gives you something to think about. If you think of this book as how it should be read, which is that of a story about animals in nature struggling for survival told from the point of view of rabbits, we look pretty bad. Selfish. Destructive. Detached. Murderers. Clearly, we think of ourselves as none of those things, but I think it is because we think in relation to other people. As I continue to read this book, I can’t help but think about how my own actions may cause unintended results to some unseen living being close by. I am not trying to be all hippie or preachy, but I am just putting it out there that this book which at first seems to be a boring story about rabbits, can make you think deeper and question things. That makes a good novel.