Rabbit, Run Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 29 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Rabbit, Run.
This section contains 575 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Rabbit, Run Summary & Study Guide Description

Rabbit, Run Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on Rabbit, Run by John Updike.

Rabbit, Run is a novel written by John Updike. In the novel, Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom is a young man in his twenties who feels trapped in his marriage. He married young because his girlfriend was pregnant. Now more than two years into the marriage, his wife is once again pregnant. Harry - not happy in his marriage or his job - abandons both, hence the title Rabbit, Run. It is the story of how one man’s struggle with life and responsibilities can affect everyone in his life.

Harry was given the nickname Rabbit when he played high school basketball. He was the star of the team and the memories of his glory days are rekindled when he plays a game of pickup with some neighborhood boys on his way home from work. It makes him question the direction of his life. He is not happy with how his life has turned out. His job is menial, his wife is becoming an alcoholic, and they live in a tiny, shabby apartment.

Feeling overwhelmed by this life, Harry runs away from his family. He goes out to pick up his son at his mother’s house, but instead gets in his car and just starts driving. He ends up in West Virginia before he turns around and heads back to his hometown of Mt. Judge, Pennsylvania. He does not go home, however. He goes in search of his old high school basketball coach. Coach Tothero tells him to go home to his wife. When Harry is resistant to do this, he takes him on a double date in Brewer, a nearby town. The date is with prostitutes and Harry spends the evening with his date, Ruth. This one night leads to him living with Ruth.

Meantime in Mt. Judge, Harry’s wife, Janice, has moved back in with her parents and is having to deal with the embarrassment of her husband abandoning her to live with a prostitute. The family’s minister takes on the task of trying to get Harry to rejoin his family. Harry is reluctant to do this as he is enjoying his new life with Ruth. What he does not know is that Ruth is pregnant with his child and refuses to tell him, because she knows he will eventually go back to his wife.

When Janice gives birth, Harry returns to her and, after a rough beginning, everyone seems to forgive his leaving. Janice’s father gives Harry a job, and Harry tries to be a good father and husband. After a fight with Janice, Harry leaves again. Janice, who had controlled her drinking and was getting better, goes on a binge and accidentally drowns their newborn baby in the bathtub. Harry is upset by this and comes back to support his wife and son. The guilt, however, weighs on him and he has a breakdown at his daughter’s funeral and once again runs away.

Harry goes to see Ruth. She wants nothing to do with him. He realizes she is pregnant and pleads with her to keep the baby. He says he will marry her and she questions his

ability to provide for anyone. She eventually agrees if he works out his life she will marry him. Harry tells her he will go out to get them something to eat, but instead of

going to the store he runs, leaving all his responsibilities behind him.

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This section contains 575 words
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Buy the Rabbit, Run Study Guide
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