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A Symphonic Discussion of the Animal in Richard Adams' Watership Down


  • Elisabeth Kynaston

Summary, in English

The purpose of this essay is to suggest a new reading of Richard Adams’ Watership Down (1972) by adopting the recently new discipline of Animal Studies. Adams follows a long tradition of talking animals in literature, which still to this day, is an important part of the English literary canon. Throughout this essay, I shall focus on several aspects of the novel. I will look at the anthropomorphized animals and examine how the animals are portrayed in the text. I will seek to offer a structural analysis of Adams’ novel using the structure of the symphony. The essay offers a background discussion of Animal Studies as a theoretical discipline. In addition, the background will provide the reader with a description of how and why the structure of the symphony can function as a method to analyse Adams’ novel. The analysis has been divided into five parts where Jakob von Uexküll’s and Mario Ortiz-Robles’ research will serve as a basis for my discussion as I seek to provide a deeper understanding of how our perception of the animal in literature affects our idea of the animal in our human society.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Cecilia Wadsö-Lecaros (PhD)