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Watership Down | Chapter Summaries

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Timeline of Events

  • May

    Fiver's vision that Sandleford is in danger makes Hazel take a group to escape.

    Part 1, Chapter 1
  • The next day

    Hazel's group goes through woods and meets a lendri.

    Part 1, Chapter 4
  • Later that day

    Blackberry creates a raft to get Fiver and Pipkin across the river.

    Part 1, Chapter 7
  • The second day

    Hazel's group is attacked by a crow, rests in a beanfield, and crosses a road.

    Part 1, Chapter 9
  • The third day

    Hazel's group meets Cowslip and stays in his warren.

    Part 1, Chapter 12
  • The fourth day

    Fiver wants to leave Cowslip's warren, and Bigwig gets caught in a snare.

    Part 1, Chapter 13
  • Later that day

    Fiver and Pipkin help to free Bigwig and escape the warren.

    Part 1, Chapter 17
  • The following evening

    Hazel's group starts Watership Down warren. Captain Holly arrives.

    Part 2, Chapter 18
  • The following day

    Hazel befriends a gull named Kehaar and helps him heal his wing.

    Part 2, Chapter 23
  • Days later

    Hazel sends Holly to Efrafa and visits Nuthanger Farm for does.

    Part 2, Chapter 24
  • The next day

    Hazel is shot. Fiver finds him alive in a ditch.

    Part 2, Chapter 25
  • Days later

    Hazel takes a group to Efrafa to rescue does with Kehaar's help.

    Part 3, Chapter 30
  • Two days later

    Hazel's group hides near the train tracks and finds a boat at the river.

    Part 3, Chapter 32
  • Later that night

    Bigwig joins Efrafa, becomes an officer, and meets does to rescue.

    Part 3, Chapter 34
  • Three days later

    Bigwig attacks a guard and leads Blackavar and does to the boat to escape.

    Part 3, Chapter 38
  • The next three days

    Hazel's group swims to shore and travels home. Campion sees them.

    Part 4, Chapter 39
  • A few days later

    Woundwort and his officers dig into the closed-up warren to attack.

    Part 4, Chapter 42
  • Early next morning

    Hazel goes to Nuthanger Farm and frees the dog, but gets caught by the cat.

    Part 4, Chapter 45
  • Later that day

    Fiver scares Efrafans, the dog scatters them, and Hazel comes home in a car.

    Part 4, Chapter 47
  • Weeks later

    Three does have kittens. Campion and Groundsel start a new warren. Hazel dies.

    Part 4, Chapter 50

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Map References The map at the beginning of Watership Down shows readers where the story takes place at key moments in the plot. From th... Read More
Part 1, Chapters 1–2 The novel opens with an epigraph (quotation used to preface a chapter) from Cassandra, the character in Greek playwrig... Read More
Part 1, Chapters 3–4 The epigraph, from Greek historian Xenophon's The Anabasis, talks about questioning why the speaker is waiting to leav... Read More
Part 1, Chapters 5–6 The epigraph, from R.M. Lockley's The Private Life of the Rabbit, describes how rabbits will wander in search of a saf... Read More
Part 1, Chapters 7–9 The epigraph that begins this chapter is from Napoleon Bonaparte, about bravery in the face of danger. Hazel and his g... Read More
Part 1, Chapters 10–11 The epigraph is from John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, about meeting with so much danger that it is better to turn... Read More
Part 1, Chapters 12–13 The epigraph is another quote from R.M. Lockley's book about rabbits, which says that visiting rabbits in need of a dr... Read More
Part 1, Chapters 14–15 The epigraph is from the Earl of Chesterfield's Letters to His Son, in which he says that one should learn from those ... Read More
Part 1, Chapters 16–17 The epigraph for this chapter is from Sidney Keyes's poem, "Four Postures of Death." It relates the sadness of those w... Read More
Part 2, Chapters 18–19 The epigraph for this chapter is from William Blake's poem, "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell," a line about proof of w... Read More
Part 2, Chapters 20–21 The epigraph is a quote from The Epic of Gilgamesh, about Gilgamesh's face having the look of one who has had a long a... Read More
Part 2, Chapters 22–23 The epigraph for this chapter is from Congreve, Love for Love, referring to a face as a "rogue face," which is appropr... Read More
Part 2, Chapters 24–25 The epigraph for this chapter is from Robin Hood and the Monk (Child's Ballads, No. 119) and describes how, when Robin... Read More
Part 2, Chapters 26–27 The epigraph is from Uno Harva, quoted by Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces, describing how a shaman f... Read More
Part 2, Chapters 28–29 The epigraph is from Walter de la Mare's poem, "The Pilgrim," describing how it feels to come back home. Holly takes C... Read More
Part 3, Chapters 30–31 The epigraph, from Company Prospectus of the South Sea Bubble, reflects Hazel's unwillingness to tell anyone on the jo... Read More
Part 3, Chapters 32–33 The epigraph, in French, comes from General Jourdan, Mémoires Militaires (Military Memories), talking about how import... Read More
Part 3, Chapters 34–36 The epigraph comes from Clausewitz's On War, lauding the person who has a strong will in battle. In this chapter the n... Read More
Part 3, Chapters 37–38 The epigraph in this chapter comes from Joel Chandler Harris, Proverbs of Uncle Remus; the idea is that you can hide a... Read More
Part 4, Chapters 39–40 The epigraph is from an American folk song about a boatman rowing down the Ohio River. The rabbits float down the rive... Read More
Part 4, Chapters 41–42 The epigraph is from Psalm 59, about scorning the malicious. The warren at Watership Down has settled into a rhythm qu... Read More
Part 4, Chapters 43–44 The epigraph is from Walter de la Mare's poem, Napoleon, about approaching a threat in solitude. Woundwort tries to fo... Read More
Part 4, Chapters 45–46 The epigraph is the classic "dogs of war" quote from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Thistle, one of the younger rabbits,... Read More
Part 4, Chapters 47–48 The epigraph, about attacking a bull instead of waiting for it to attack the speaker, comes from Flora Thompson in Lar... Read More
Part 4, Chapters 49–50 The epigraph, from Robert Graves's poem, "Two Fusiliers," speaks of luck and friendship. The Efrafans have been scatte... Read More
Epilogue The epigraphs in this section come from Shakespeare's play, All's Well That Ends Well, and Lewis Carroll's Through the L... Read More
Lapine Glossary This glossary helps readers to understand the words that are used by the rabbits to describe themselves, their habitat, ... Read More
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