by John Updike
Rabbit, Run Chapter 15 Summary
- When he gets to the hospital he has to wait.
- In the waiting room a woman introduces herself to him as Harriet Tothero.
- Rabbit tells her his name. She then remembers it.
- She says Tothero really liked him, that he’d spoken of him recently.
- Rabbit wonders if she knows what he did.
- He asks about Tothero being sick and hears he’s had two strokes.
- She invites, and Rabbit agrees to see him.
- Rabbit tells Tothero about Janice and the baby and goes to shake his hand and is shocked by his deterioration.
- Mrs. Tothero explains he’s lost his motor skills and speech but that sight and hearing are intact. Rabbit finds her a bit “sinister.”
- Rabbit touches Tothero’s hand and is repulsed when it moves in response.
- Rabbit is getting freaked out by Tothero’s eyes and he wills himself to speak, thanking him for all he’s done for him.
- Tothero looks at Harriet. She doesn’t see him, but is looking out the window, which surprises Rabbit.
- He bids Tothero adieu and Tothero suddenly looks all together again, like he will speak.
- Rabbit thinks he’s toying with him, like when he was coach.
- But the moment stretches and fades and Tothero becomes unknowable again.
- Rabbit, feeling like a failure, says goodbye to Mrs. Tothero and then he goes to Janice.
- The visit doesn’t meet his expectations. She is complaining of pain.
- She doesn’t pay attention to his apologies. They talk about the Eccles.
- They argue about Rabbit’s apprehension of people. He says he was comfortable with Tothero. She wants to know he’s comfortable with her.
- She complains of pain. She thinks he must not be comfortable or he would not have gone.
- He brings up her drinking and lack of activity.
- He says he knows it wasn’t right, but that he felt like he was buried alive.
- He explains that he didn’t intend to leave. She acts uninterested.
- He says: “Shit.” She doesn’t like the language and brings up his “prostitute.”
- He explains that Ruth was more like a heavy dater. He accuses her of calling Ruth a prostitute because she wasn’t married to Rabbit. She asks where he is staying.
- He wants to go back to their place with Nelson.
- He is amazed she didn’t hold on to it, that she doesn’t know what happened to their stuff.
- She says she was busy with the pregnancy. He says it’s more that she doesn’t care.
- She tells him to listen to himself and he does and remembers how he felt after the baby was born. He tries to get back there and they exchange I love yous.
- Then Janice asks for money for the TV.
- They watch a show that purports to be about older women receiving money for telling the audience about their problems. The louder the applause, the more they get.
- The MCs performance and his product plugs dominate the program though.
- He thinks the MagiPeel Peeler will get a plug but it doesn’t.
- “He and Janice hold hands.” He takes care of her.
- Then the nurse says he can come see the baby. He walks behind her and admires her backside.
- His thoughts drift to the TV show and the nurse holding his baby up on the other side of the viewing glass comes suddenly. He finds the child wonderful; he is amazed.
- He is surprised he can tell she is a girl, so different from how Nelson was.
- The nurse puts the bay back to bed and Rabbit goes back to Janice, high on life.
- He wants to name her June, after her birth month.
- Janice wants to name her Rebecca after Mrs. Springer.
- Rabbit wants Janice to like her mother more and so they name the baby Rebecca June.
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