The Rabbits

The Rabbits Irony

There Weren't Many of Them (Dramatic Irony)

As the narrator recounts how the rabbits first arrived in the marsupials' country, the narrator says that "there weren't many of them." The line presents an instance of dramatic irony, because while the narrator knows the rabbits will soon overrun the marsupial population, the marsupials depicted in the scene are oblivious to their fate, encountering the few rabbits they meet as a curiosity rather than a threat.

"Food" Made Marsupials Sick (Situational Irony)

Having never encountered alcohol before, the marsupials think of the alcohol the rabbits introduce to them as "food that made us sick." In this instance of situational irony, the marsupials encounter alcohol as a type of food rather than a habit-forming, health-limiting substance. In their innocence, the negative effects of the alcohol are unexpected to the marsupials, who expect food to be nourishing.

Rabbit Lowers Lizard Into Beaker (Dramatic Irony)

Early in the story, soon after the rabbits and marsupials first encounter each other, the illustration depicts a few rabbits using scientific instruments to appraise elements of the marsupials' territory. One rabbit holds a small lizard by its tail, lowering the lizard into a beaker of turquoise liquid in which the lizard will drown. The rabbit's experiment shows a disregard for life and hints at the cruelty the rabbits will exercise toward all inhabitants of the marsupials' country. In this way, the rabbit's beaker experiment presents an instance of dramatic irony in which the reader is given a glimpse of the oppression to come, while the marsupials in the background of the illustration remain oblivious.