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Rabbit, Run

Rabbit, Run


by John Updike

Rabbit, Run Chapter 9 Summary

  • Rabbit and Ruth are at the Club Castanet in ethnic south Brewer. Rabbit is suspicious of the area. Rabbit sees death in alcohol.
  • Ruth is across from Rabbit and he’s thinking she doesn’t mind unsavory places, thinking about when she was a prostitute.
  • He thinks of her past and his past in the same sloppy light.
  • He’s happy staying at home with Ruth, and occasionally catching a flick.
  • But Margaret called and invited them out and she wanted to go.
  • Rabbit was bored so he agreed.
  • She wants a Daiquiri and he’s afraid it will make her sick.
  • Their waitress is black and Rabbit ogles her and Ruth says he’s too white for her.
  • Margaret arrives with her date. Uh oh. It’s Ronnie Harrison. This looks like trouble.
  • Harrison is chunky with receding hair, and wears a seersucker suit, and Rabbit doesn’t like his looks. Margaret sits next to Rabbit and Ronnie next to Ruth. (Awkward!)
  • Ronnie starts giving Rabbit a hard time right away.
  • Rabbit asks about Tothero and Ronnie says: “Totherwho?” Ruth laughs, making Rabbit angry.
  • Rabbit thinks this is just like the night he first met Ruth, but that this time Ronnie is standing in for him, and that he is there with Janice, and that he’s going to be the one who gets treated badly, like Tothero was that night.
  • Rabbit and Ronnie argue about who was a better basketball player.
  • Rabbit gets bored because he thinks Ronnie is afraid of him.
  • He ogles the waitress some more, mostly for Ruth’s benefit.
  • Ronnie says that Tothero said Rabbit wasn’t a team player.
  • Rabbit says Ronnie probably told Tothero that when he was asleep, and took Tothero’s lack of response for agreement. Ronnie denies it, says everybody at school knew.
  • Rabbit wonders. Ruth complains about the basketball talk. She says: “Every time I go out with this bastard we talk nothing but.”
  • Rabbit asks Margaret about Tothero again and she says he’s probably at home.
  • Rabbit feels like he and Margaret are separated from Ruth and Ronnie.
  • Ronnie starts playing up to Ruth, and Rabbit thinks she might like it.
  • Ronnie tries to flirt with the waitress who puts him in his place, pleasing Rabbit.
  • Ronnie starts talking about when he and Ruth went to Atlantic City.
  • She says it was with “another couple.” She seems nervous.
  • Ronnie says the other couple had sex all the time, and that the guy liked to slap the lady when he was coming. He also hints that he and Ruth had sex.
  • Ruth participates in telling the story, nervous, but not trying to conceal.
  • Rabbit wants to know if the guy also liked to bite women.
  • Ronnie doesn’t know.
  • Rabbit talks about one of the prostitutes in Texas that had bite marks on her butt. According to Rabbit: “She was a virgin otherwise.”
  • Ronnie starts to tell a joke about a prostitute with a large vagina.
  • Rabbit starts thinking about the MagiPeel Peeler and how well it peeled vegetables.
  • Ruth is just sitting there, not sure if there if Rabbit and Ronnie aren’t the same.
  • Ronnie delivers the punch line. To Rabbit’s satisfaction, nobody laughs.
  • Now Harrison sees Rabbit’s sister coming in and points her out to Rabbit.
  • She’s with a guy and things get all like when Tony Montana sees his sister with a guy in Scarface (in other words, tense).
  • Mim comes over and introduces her date and complains about her parents fighting about Rabbit all the time. Rabbit tells them to leave.
  • Then he yanks on the date’s tie, so it pops the date in the mouth. Then he pushes the guy down on the floor.
  • His sister doesn’t start freaking out like Gina in Scarface and Rabbit tells Ruth it’s time to go. She doesn’t want to but does anyway. He’s mad that she can’t see he’s hurt.
  • He wants to know all about Ronnie now. He tells her he’s mad she called him a bastard in the bar. She says she meant it as a term of endearment.
  • He tells her that all men, all men with penises, are the same to her.
  • He asks if she had sex with Harrison. She admits it.
  • He wants to know how many men she’s been with.
  • She says it doesn’t matter, and that Rabbit knew she’d been with many men before they met. He wants to know if she was “a real hooer.”
  • She says she already told him that sometimes she took money, other times just gifts or support. He wants to know if she ever posed nude.
  • She says no. He wants to know if she gave blowjobs.
  • She says maybe they should part, and feels very sad, but doesn’t want to give him her secrets now. He says no, he just wants to know.
  • She says she has. He wants to know if she gave Harrison one.
  • She feels like he and Harrison are no different, and she would even rather be with Harrison, “just for a change.” Rabbit wants to know everything they did.
  • Then he gets very clear. He wants her to do to him what she did to Harrison.
  • She makes sure he’s talking about a blowjob, which he is.
  • She understands he means it as punishment and wants to know why.
  • He says she acted like a prostitute tonight and he didn’t like it.
  • He thinks the blowjob well help them get past it.
  • They talk about how they loved each other and want to try to get it back.
  • Rabbit says he felt betrayed tonight. She feels sick from the two drinks she had and wants to sleep. She’s afraid Rabbit will hate her after the blowjob.
  • She is cold.
  • “She closes her eyes and tells herself, they’re not ugly. Not.” We think she means she and Rabbit, but she might meet mean something else, something bigger than just the two of them.

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