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MonkeyNotes Free Study Guide-Watership Down by Richard Adams-Book Notes
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CHAPTER SUMMARIES AND NOTES

CHAPTER 7 - The Lendri and the River

Summary

Just as the story is finished the rabbits hear and smell a "lendri" or badger. They do not know if this one is dangerous or not, but taking no chances, Bigwig leads them away from the animal at a run. This brings them to the edge of a river; Five says they shall have to cross it, but that he and Pipkin are too tired to swim. Bigwig gets a little sarcastic in asking Hazel if he was expecting the river. Hazel fears that Bigwig is going to be trouble sooner or later, but he maintains peace by thanking the big Owsla rabbit for saving their lives in getting them away from the lendri. Hazel pretends that he would not have known what to do on his own.

Bigwig does not let Hazelís praise go to his head but merely explains that badgers cannot hurt a rabbit on the run and that they are really more of a danger to young rabbits than to adults. Even though they have not yet figured a way over the river, Hazel feels lighter in spirit.


Notes

Hazelís skill as a leader is further demonstrated. It is also significant that when Fiver says they need to cross it, Hazel begins looking for a way to do just that.

CHAPTER 8 - The Crossing

Summary

The rabbits sit at the edge of the bank unable to decide whether to go further upstream or to cross where they are. Some want to stay where they are and rest awhile. Bigwig is about to make a sarcastic comment when Hazel tells him to swim across and climb the big hill to see how far the wood stretches. Bigwig returns quickly to say they must cross right away as a big dog is loose in the woods. There is a problem, however, with getting Fiver and Pipkin across as both of them are too exhausted to be able to swim the distance. Blackberry finds a flat board which is stuck in the mud just a little way upstream. He suggests that they use it to carry Fiver and Pipkin across the water. None of the rabbits understand him at first, but when he manages to wedge the board loose, Bigwig gets the idea and pushes the board to the other bank. Most of the rabbits do not quite understand what has happened, but Blackberry suggests that they ought to remember the idea in case they need to use it another time.

Notes

We see a new side to Blackberry here as he comes through as the intellect of the group, one capable of generating new ideas and figuring out how to carry them out. Bigwig also catches on quickly. Hazelís initial request that Bigwig swim ahead to view the land was intended to give him something to do to keep him from causing an argument, but it ultimately saved their lives. His strength in pushing the board across the water also saves Pipkin and Fiver, so Bigwig is beginning to feel indispensable which will help him to be a part of the group rather than just going along because he has no choice. Fiver also understands what happened on the water even though he is quite sure that Pipkin does not.

CHAPTER 9 - The Crow and the Beanfield

Summary

The rabbits spend the day sleeping uneasily in a hedgerow. Hazel feels uncomfortable about their exposure and explores a nearby hill where he finds a field of fragrant plants that he is unfamiliar with. Bigwig and Silver seem to be familiar with them however, so they wake all the rabbits and lead them to the hill. When they get there, they are attacked by a crow. Hazel and Bigwig work together to attack the crow and drive it off. Bigwig encourages the attack, saying that the crows only attack helpless rabbits, but are actually cowards. After the excitement, the rabbits sleep safely among the bean plants.

Notes

The relationship between Hazel and Bigwig continues to develop. In this adventure the two are working together rather than Hazel sending Bigwig off to prevent him from starting an argument. Bigwig is accepting Hazelís leadership even as Hazel turns to him for his Owsla experience, skills and advice.

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