As the Gentle Woman was watching her new bunny romping the house this morning, she realized how much rabbits are a part of our culture and have been for a very long time. Here is a list of 5 famous bunnies in American culture.
#5 The Hare from Aesop’s Fables – “The Tortoise and the Hare”
This poor fellow does not even get a name. The Tortoise is the hero of the story. We do not know exactly when this story was first told, but we do know that Aesop was born around 620 B.C. The story is about a race between a hare and a tortoise. The moral is all about persistence and hard work versus natural talent. The Hare should easily win, but instead runs all around exploring and having a great time then takes a relaxing nap. The Tortoise, on the other hand plods along and eventually wins the race.
The moral, of course, is that we are all supposed to be more like the Tortoise and this story is still told to American children today. But who wants to be a tortoise? The Gentle Woman takes a different view of this story. The race is life itself, and it is the Tortoise who is losing. The Hare has a great time exploring everything around him, plays until he is tired and then plops down for a quick nap. Anyone who has a pet bunny knows that is exactly how they behave. Maybe the real moral is that we should be more like the Hare and less like the plodding Tortoise. After all the Tortoise did not even get a prize for his “win” while the Hare got a lot of fun and a good nap.
Many people who have bunnies as pets today do so because they first fell in love with these animals after reading the stories of Beatrix Potter. Peter first appeared in “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” in 1902 along with his siblings Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-Tail. This family of rabbits lived in Victorian England, wore human clothing and were always getting into trouble and adventures. Beatrix Potter wrote a beautiful series of children stories that are still loved by modern readers.
#3 Roger Rabbit
Roger Rabbit is a silly and not very bright cartoon bunny, introduced to us in the 1988 film “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”. Roger is accused of murdering Mr. Acme in a rage over Roger’s beautiful wife Jessica. As silly as Roger is however, we like him because he is basically a very good individual. He is totally in love with his wife and she is totally in love with him. As a side note it turns out that Mr. Acme was the owner of Acme Products, the company that Wile E. Coyote used to buy all the contraptions he used to try to catch the Road Runner. Considering the fact that Acme’s products never work it seems like the coyote should be the prime suspect rather than Roger Rabbit.
#2 The Easter Bunny
The tradition of the Easter Bunny goes back much further than most people think. It is actually a centuries old tradition. Bunnies are associated with Spring and re-birth, since wild rabbits seem to magically re-appear after each long Winter. However, there is one downside to the tradition, and that is a lot of people still get their kids rabbits as pets on Easter. Many families do this without realizing responsibility and commitment adopting a rabbit requires. The number of rabbits found abandoned or dropped off at shelters spikes a few months after Easter. For this reason, most good breeders will not sell rabbits just before Easter.
#1 Bugs Bunny
Bugs appeared as early as 1938, but he first appeared drawn as we know him today in 1940. Sure, some of the other rabbits on the list have a more ancient or glorified heritage, but Bugs is an American original. With his brash attitude and Brooklyn accent, he became world famous. As an audience we always root for him against the hunter Elmer Fudd.
Well, that’s the Gentle Woman’s list. Let us know if you think we missed any. So if you have a pet rabbit or just love them, maybe its because rabbits have been an integral part of our culture for a very long time.