The Game of Life in Rabbit, Run Essay

The Game of Life in Rabbit, Run Essay

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The Game of Life in Rabbit, Run

    Perhaps all our lives are simply a game, a game to which society sets the rules and to which we adapt.  In John Updike's novel, Rabbit, Run, the protagonist, Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom lives his life by the rules of the game of basketball.  Rabbit is a man who has, until the beginning of the book, played by society's rules.  But Rabbit's ambivalence is different from that of those around him; he has trouble communicating, and as a result he is often misunderstood and is constantly frustrated by the actions and expectations of others (Regehr).   In high school, Rabbit was a first rate basketball player and now, in his late twenties, is a middle-class man; working in a middle-class job, living in a middle-class apartment.  Though we may not choose to exist in this brown-gray environment, neither would our twenty-something protagonist, and that is precisely the point.  That we can be disgusted and frustrated along with him is what gives substantial balance to his sometimes unlikable decisions, and helps us react fairly to them (Tragic). This substandard is an immense disappointment to Rabbit's expectation that he, and his surroundings, would be of the highest classification throughout his post-high school life as they were in his days as a basketball star.


            What defeats Rabbit in real life is the absence of a counter part for the basket in basketball.  Rabbit loves the games because they create and clearly define goals, the way to get points, becoming first rate, a success.  Contrastingly, the real world does not tell him what that something-that-wants-him-to-find-it is (Markle 46).  Rabbit does not have the ball, he does not have the key to the goal in his hands.  But thr...

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Secondary Sources

Eiland, Howard & Thornburn, David. Twentieth Century Views: John Updike, A Collection of Critical Essays.  Copyright 1979 by Prentice Hall, Inc.

Magill, Frank.  Survey of American Literature.  Vol. 6 Ste-Z 1885-2224.  Marshall Cavendish Co. New York.  Copyright 1991. Edited by Frank Magill.

Markle, Joyce B.  Fighters and Lovers:  Theme In The Novels of John Updike.  Copyright 1973 by New York University.

Regehr, John.  Rabbit, Run (John's Book Pages).  Copyright 1998 by John Regehr  04-02-00

Trachtenberg, Stanley.  New Essays on Rabbit, Run.  
Tragic Unraveling of a High School Jock.  Reviewer: jzk.  4/13/00. 

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