Here is a summary and review of The Reason by E.V Lucas, a magnificent essay on the lack of unity among human beings.
E.V Lucas’s The Reason is an essay written in the lighter vein. It tells us humorously how the unity and cooperation of animals helped the rabbits to scoot away from the hunter.
The essay opens quite dramatically with a hunter’s description of his failed attempt at hunting rabbits. He walked with a velvet tread, he had neither sneezed nor tipped, and the wind was the other way. But he could not find even a single rabbit in a copse famous for them.
At night, the hunter goes to bed wondering why he was so unlucky that day. In his dream a huge English rabbit teases him and tells him the reason why. So many other creatures were there in the copse and all of them, without exception, played their part too well. For instance, there were the swallows, who warned the rabbits of the hunter’s arrival. They said, “There is a fellow with a gun creeping up the hedge. Look out!” The screaming of the blackbird did not mean anything else. The flies went a step further and tried to bother him by swarming around him. Some of them even flew on ahead and prompted the rabbits to scoot.
The last nail on the coffin comes when the rabbit tells the hunter that even the Irish cow, whom he was so fond of, was on the side of the rabbits. ‘Look out,’ she said; ‘he’s creeping up the hedge with a gun. Not that he’s anything of a shot, judging by his general want of sense; but you’d better be careful.’ After all, ‘four feet are thicker than two,’ says the rabbit.
The nasty comment from the Irish cow leaves the hunter flat on the floor and now he suspects whether his dog has even let him down. But the rabbit expresses his derision for dogs with a snort and says, “There are four feet and four feet, I’d have you know.”
To speak in animal terms, the essay swoops down on the reader and captures his mind with the power of a fable. In fact, the essay looks like a story. But the rabbit’s comment ‘four feet are thicker than two,’ which is a parody of the popular saying ‘blood is thicker than water,’ leads the reader to some revealing questions on the attitude of human beings:
Have the human beings become a curse to this earth? Is he a protector or a destroyer? There is no room for doubt, because the other animals’ motive for saving the rabbits was not devotion to the rabbits, but a dislike for human beings.
Do we have any unity among human beings? What has happened to our trade unions? Can we say that two feet are thicker, stronger and more united than four feet? What would happen if some human beings were in the place of the rabbits?
And most prominently, what may happen if the dream of Old Major in Orwell’s Animal Farm ever comes true? What if the animals rise up in revolt against human beings? If it is a matter of voting, rightfully they have the majority.
And now, do you think The Reason is just a hilarious essay on trifles?