Identity Crisis and Spirituality in John Updike's Rabbit, Run Essay

Identity Crisis and Spirituality in John Updike's Rabbit, Run Essay

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Rabbit, Run by John Updike is a novel about a young man named Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom who leaves his pregnant wife and young child and begins a journey to find happiness and freedom. He gets involved with a prostitute named Ruth and stays with her in an apartment. While he is away from his wife he is counseled by Reverend Eccles who tries to help Rabbit’s situation, although it does not do much good. After his wife has the baby, he leaves Ruth to be with his family. Rabbit eventually leaves his wife again to go back with Ruth. While he is away the second time, his wife drinks too much and accidentally drowns their newborn. In the end, Rabbit runs away from both his family and Ruth to continue his journey.
The article “Rabbit Angstrom as a Religious Sufferer” by Lewis Lawson details Rabbit’s search for a transcendent experience while also struggling with his identity. On the other hand, the article “Young Man Angstrom: Identity Crisis and the Work of Love in Rabbit, Run” by David Crowe explores Rabbit’s journey to find his true identity, the relevance of Christian faithfulness in the novel, and how ethical misconduct has an effect on both. These articles both investigate the effects Rabbit’s actions have on his spiritual journey as well as if he even has the ability to achieve his goal. These articles differ in that Crowe focuses more on ethics and its effect on spirituality while Lawson determines the connection of sexuality and spirituality within the novel.
In his article “Rabbit Angstrom as a Religious Sufferer” Lewis Lawson explores Rabbit’s journey and how it is relatable to religion and spirituality. The examples Lawson use illustrate Rabbit’s connection to and struggle with religion and his own identity. He hi...


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...ues his search by going to Eccles church one morning, only to find that he loses concentration and begins a sexual daydream while the service is going on. Rabbit explains that he became dissatisfied by the sermon because he “has no taste for the dark tangled, visceral aspect of Christianity, the going through quality of it, the passage into death and suffering that redeems and inverts these things, like an umbrella blowing inside out.” Lawson explains that Rabbit lacks the will to become a truly religious person.


Works Cited
Crowe, David. “Young Man Angstrom: Identity Crisis and the Work of Love in Rabbit, Run.” Religion and Literature 43.1 (2011): 81-100. EBSCOhost. Web.
Lawson, Lewis A. “Rabbit Angstrom as a Religious Sufferer.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 42.2 (1974): 232-46. JSTOR. Web.
Updike, John. Rabbit, Run. New York: Knopf, 1960. Print.

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