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Literature / Rabbit, Run

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Rabbit, Run is a 1960 novel by John Updike.

The novel depicts three months in the life of Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, a 26-year-old former high-school basketball player from Brewer, Pennsylvania who is trapped in a loveless marriage and a boring sales job, and his attempts to escape the constraints of his life.

Word of God says that this was written in response to On the Road. A film adaptation was released in 1970, directed by Jack Smight and starring James Caan as Rabbit. Updike later featured the character in three additional novels (Rabbit Redux, Rabbit Is Rich, and Rabbit at Rest).


Rabbit, Run contains examples of:

  • Alliterative Title: Along with all of its sequels.
  • Everytown, America: Deconstructed. As Updike noted, "My subject is the American Protestant small-town middle class. I like middles. It is in middles that extremes clash, where ambiguity restlessly rules."
  • Glory Days: Rabbit is a former basketball star who peaked in high school.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: The fictional Brewer is modeled on John Updike's hometown of Reading, Pennsylvania.
  • Soul-Sucking Retail Job: Rabbit works in a department store, selling a kitchen gadget called the MagiPeeler.