Down The Rabbit-hole: And Other Furry Pathways

Alice famously fell down the rabbit-hole and we all know what happened to her. Of with her head, said the Queen of Hearts; and we can all lose our heads at various times of our lives. In an age of consumerism, at the shop shopping mall, when confronted by a wealth of desirable objects, we can weaken and waive our credit cards about like Harry Potter wands. What of the rabbit? What does that furry creature represent in life and literature? Is the rabbit friend or foe?

If one lives in the bush, then the rabbit is a menace. Australia is famous for its prodigious rabbit proof fence, which stretches across a massive continent. Rabbits are great breeders and their numbers terrorise the landscape, eating what the farmers would like their livestock to eat. Rural families have despaired at the rabbit menace and wept, as their crops have been devastated by plagues of rabbits. Rabbit pie has been on the menu during times of economic struggle; and is associated with the great depression for many older members of our community. The Rabbitohs are a famous South Sydney Rugby league team, who were named after, not the bunnies themselves, but the desperate men who used to catch them for a living.

Down The Rabbit-hole: And Other Furry Pathways

In the city, in our 21st-century world, in our comfortable urban existences, the rabbit does not pose as such a danger. Rather, the rabbit is seen as a soft and furry animal, something that advertisers use as backdrops for the promotion of fabric softeners and toilet tissues. The bunny with the big ears is a favourite cartoon character; a smart arse with all the answers. Children and children’s books love the small furry rabbit; here they are depicted as the epitome of innocence. Babies and toddlers are accessorised with stuffed rabbits and other soft toys.

What does the rabbit think about? What is on the mind of our furry friend or foe? Is it food and sex? Or, is it searching for free pathways on its journey toward evolution? Biologists would come out on the side of food and sex, I imagine. Farmers would slowly shake their heads and load their shot guns. Children would smile and get excited at the cute creature scurrying about them. The rabbit’s prolific ability to reproduce itself should be a symbol for capitalism and free enterprise. The rabbit should adorn the doors of our greatest banks, and be the heroes of Treasuries everywhere. I doff my hat to the bunny and the hare!