For pleasure reading, I’m currently hopping my way through that classic rabbits’ tale, Watership Down. Though many critics suggest religious symbolism or draw parallels to Greek mythology, the book is really a children’s story written in novel style. As the author, Richard Adams, explains,
“…Watership Down was never intended to be some sort of allegory or parable. It is simply the story about rabbits made up and told in the car.”
As with all good adventure stories, there must be an element of bloodshed, and Watership Down does not disappoint. I did a double-take the other night when I came to this accident description:
“…he felt a sharp blow on one of his hind legs and a hot, stinging pain along his side.”
Déjà vu! I might as well have been reading my own description of Ajax’s accident. Not having read Watership Down before writing Ajax, it tickled me to think how two different authors described incidents in such similar terms. I drew the following conclusions from my musing:
- Given that Adams and I were both describing related means of injury, we would naturally use equivalent terminology. (I suppose that’s rather obvious.)
- To evoke a sense of trauma, one does not need to be graphic – especially when writing for children. Subtlety is usually enough; a child’s imagination provides the rest.