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Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Sex

Rabbit, Run devotes much attention to sex, and sex’s sometime counterparts, reproduction and/or marriage. Delicate issues (really delicate in 1959, when the novel is set) like prostitution, m...

Fear

Fear pervades Rabbit, Run, though the novel does provide moments of relief. The main character, Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom thinks he’s caught in a contracting and expanding "trap," or "web," or...

Religion

Rabbit, Run is suffused with religious questioning. Much of the religious debate in the novel relates to variations of Christian philosophy, but Freudianism (treated something like a religion), ath...

Identity

Rabbit, Run explores the ways in which individual needs and desires, responsibility, family, religion, pop culture, and The American Dream circa 1959 impact the identities of its characters. The te...

Visions of America

Rabbit, Run’s author, John Updike says that looking at 1950s America through the eyes of his main character, Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom opened his eyes to the decade. The novel mostly focuses on...

Drugs and Alcohol

John Updike’s Rabbit, Run, published in 1960, is obsessed with alcohol and cigarettes. But unless you count delivery room anesthetics, drugs are only mentioned on the first page – some...

Transience

Rabbit, Run’s main character Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom is in a perpetual state of transience. He’s always on the move, usually on foot, though he’s occasionally found in a motor veh...

Guilt and Blame

Rabbit, Run is a guilt and blame-fest. This starts at the beginning of the novel when the main character, Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, runs away from his pregnant wife and his son. But when newborn Reb...
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