The Rabbits

The Rabbits Literary Elements


Picture book; allegory

Setting and Context

The story is set in an unnamed country resembling Australia, inhabited solely by animals; the story is an allegory for the British colonization of Australia, which began in the late 1700s

Narrator and Point of View

The story is narrated by a collective "we" narrator who speaks from the point of view of colonized marsupials.

Tone and Mood

The tone is somber and reflective; the mood is wistful and grieving.

Protagonist and Antagonist

The marsupials are the protagonists; the rabbits are the antagonists.

Major Conflict

The major conflict of the story is that the outnumbered marsupials are unable to stop the rabbits from rapidly and irrevocably taking over the marsupials' country and erasing the marsupials' culture.


The story reaches its climax when the narrator says that the marsupials' attempts at fighting back against the colonizing rabbits failed, leading to the deaths of countless marsupials.


The line "But our old people warned us; be careful. They won't understand the right ways. They only know their own country" foreshadows the harm the rabbits later cause, ruining the environment and erasing the marsupials' culture.



Since the story is a historical allegory, there are several allusions to Australian colonial history. For example, the line "Sometimes we had fights" is an allusion to the frontier wars between colonial settlers and Indigenous Australians that occurred periodically from 1788 to 1939.




Metonymy and Synecdoche


The rabbits and marsupials in the story are given the human characteristics of clothing, technology, architecture, and warfare.