“Watership Down” And “From Hutch To House Pets….” Essay, Research Paper
Not every author has the same opinion on certain creatures’ status as living things. The extract from “Watership Down” by Richard Adams and the article “From Hutch to House Pets A Rabbit is the Perfect Companion, Even Inside the Home” by Susan Clark are written from a different format of text and therefore have different persuading technique on rabbits as subject matter. These two pieces are concerning rabbits, however, the authors regard rabbits as animals with different intellectual levels.
In the newspaper article and the extract from a novel, the authors illustrate the relationships between humans and rabbits in very contrasting ways. In the extract from “Watership Down,” the rabbits are personified to perform human activities; such as socializing with other rabbits, which humans would find unusual and impossible. Through rabbits, Adams can scoff at humans who cannot “sense much in a strange place where they cannot see, but with rabbits it is otherwise.” Humans are also considered as shallow-thinking beings, because they don’t “sense ? where they cannot see,” “except the courageous and experienced blind [people].” The roles of rabbits and humans have been reversed within the two texts; in the novel extract, rabbits are thinking creatures and on newspaper it’s regarded as normal house pets. In the newspaper article, rabbits are considered by the journalist as the “perfect pet” and “miraculous creature” because unlike cats or dogs they are pets that need very little taking care of. Both texts also discuss how rabbits are “social creatures [from] the wild ? [and] benefit greatly from ? living indoors with humans.” Adams explains that among themselves “rabbits mingled naturally.” Again, mockery against human is being mentioned again in the extract from the novel, “[rabbits] did not talk for talking’s sake, in the artificial manner that human beings – and sometimes even their dogs and cats do.” Adams is trying to challenge the readers’ opinion on whether humans only socialize superficially or
The comparison between rabbits and other animals as being pets keep reappearing within the two different texts. Adams portrays the rabbits as more sociable animals, unlike cats and dogs that are often used as pets by humans. According to Adams, rabbits apparently intermingle with other rabbits “not for talking’s sake,” instead they:
“[get] to know what the strangers smelt like, how they moved, how they breathed, how they scratched, the feel of they rhythms and pulses. These were their topics and subjects of discussion, carried on without need of speech.”
Other animals, such as dogs and cats that are being mentioned repeatedly within the two texts, on the contrary have to communicate by talking. Adams is trying to induce his readers that certain animals have extra qualities, for example rabbits’ conversations are held through detections of one’s physical features (their smells, pulses, etc). Humans socialize superficially, and they don’t get to know their acquaintances well enough.
Clark points out that rabbits are very social animals; they should be treated like any other pets like cats or dogs: as part of ’style.’ This newspaper article by Clark is part of the ‘Style’ section in newspaper; therefore having rabbits is part of the fashion and trend that everyone should follow. Consequently, people will have rabbits not because they want them as part of their family or friends; they want rabbits because they are “the perfect companion ? inside home.” Rabbits are “better suited to city life than cats: ‘[because] a lot of cats ? have developed behavioral problems from being indoors, where a rabbit would fare much better.’ ”
Since these two texts are written by different people, i.e. by an author and a journalist, it’s no wonder that the target audience and the messages conveyed are also different. Adams believes in the proper treatments between humans and animals. Therefore, in his novel, he takes the character of a rabbit to criticize the human treatments toward animals, “Rabbits have their own conventions and formalities, but these are few and short by human standards.” Each living thing has its own individual qualities and we should all respect those unique qualities. The newspaper’s style article doesn’t worry much about the rabbits’ well being, rabbits are only used as part of fashion trend. Clark mentions rabbits as “creatures” that are confined at homes for humans’ personal pleasure, as “house guests.” By contrast, one of the quotes in the article states that rabbits “are very much part of the family,” a family member that’s being regarded as house pets. The different writers depicts rabbits’ status as animals to a certain level of truth: Adams’s novel is fiction, but we don’t know whether rabbits think like how Adams has interpret it; and Clark’s article is a journalistic piece, therefore it has to be persuasive. Each writer has their own side of the arguments to be debated: Clark is trying to convince people that having rabbits is very popular, while Adams is trying to be critical of human behavior toward animals.
Richard Adams has accomplished its purpose to question human values successfully. Through a point of view of rabbits and how they portray humans, it has made the readers doubt about their own importance in the society. In order for Susan Clark to convince people to treat rabbits as pets, the roles between rabbits and humans are overturned to increase effectiveness. The format of their writings is different, this is done so that each format will be of use in particular function: either to persuade or be critical. However, both writers have done well in terms of aligning rabbits’ status within the biological chart; whether they should be inferior or superior before human beings.