Study Guide

Rabbit, Run Summary

By John Updike

Rabbit, Run Summary

Twenty-six-year-old Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom runs home one evening to find his wife, Janice, who is seven months pregnant, at home – without their son Nelson and without the family car – drinking, again. They argue, and he leaves to fetch the car and the boy, but along the way decides to permanently hightail it out of Mt. Judge, Pennsylvania and drive until he gets to the beach. He drives in circles and ends up back in Mt. Judge the next day. Instead of going home, he goes to see his high school basketball coach, Marty Tothero, who introduces him to Ruth Leonard, a sexually experienced woman about his age who has dabbled in prostitution. Rabbit and Ruth hit it off famously, and Rabbit decides to drop his car off for Janice, grab a few clothes, and shack up with Ruth in the city of Brewer, of which Mt. Judge is a suburb.

While leaving his old pad he is pursued by Jack Eccles, the minister of Janice’s family’s church. Eccles and Rabbit develop a friendship of sorts, which mostly consists of Eccles trying to convince Rabbit to return to Janice while battling (and coaching) him on the golf course – and of Rabbit getting into some heavy flirting with Eccles’ wife, Lucy.

Two months pass. Rabbit and Ruth are for the most part happy. Rabbit has left his work as a MagiPeel Peeler salesman and found fulfillment in the widowed Mrs. Smith’s fabulous fifty-acre garden. Yet, signs of trouble are emerging in the Rabbit and Ruth household. Ruth is about a month pregnant, but hasn’t told Rabbit yet. Ruth and Rabbit go out for drinks one night and things get ugly. Rabbit feels that Ruth took the side of her old lover, Ronnie Harrison, when Ronnie was clearly giving Rabbit a hard time. Rabbit interrogates Ruth as to her sexual history with Ronnie, and then, upon finding out that she gave Ronnie a blowjob, requires Ruth to give him one to make up for her traitorous behavior. She does, and a little later that night Reverend Eccles calls to tell Rabbit that Janice is in labor.

He leaves Ruth to go to Janice and soon becomes the proud father of one Rebecca June Angstrom. While Janice is recovering, Rabbit moves back into their old apartment with his son Nelson, and cleans the place up while spending quality time with the boy. Janice gets out of the hospital, and things are OK. Janice isn’t drinking. Rabbit is working for her dad, selling used cars. But after nine days both Janice’s body and mind are feeling postpartum strain.

That Sunday, Rabbit goes to Eccles’s church for the first time (leaving Janice and the kids at home to rest). He gets into some deep flirting with Lucy Eccles and comes home wanting to have sex NOW with Janice. The baby won’t stop crying though, for like hours, and the whole time Rabbit is trying to get Janice to drink (to put her in the mood), chain smoking, and clinging to her in case she suddenly feels like having sex with him.

Finally, the baby stops crying, Nelson goes to bed, and Rabbit gets Janice to take a drink. They get into bed and Rabbit tries to have sex with her. Still sore from giving birth, from her episiotomy, and from Rabbit living with “a whore,” Janice rebuffs him. He gets mad and leaves.

Meanwhile, Janice really does start drinking, and drinks all day Monday in fact. Frantic and depressed, she slaps Nelson. Her mother calls and upsets her, and then she finds that Rebecca June has somehow gotten baby poop all over herself and her crib. Drunk and full of anger, confusion, and fear, Janice tries to give Rebecca a bath and accidentally drowns her.

Rabbit calls Eccles that night and finds out what happened. He’d spent the night in a motel and the day trying to catch a glimpse of Ruth, but with no luck. He busses back to Mt. Judge full of shame and remorse. Why is he so ashamed? Because he really thinks, most of the time, that he killed his daughter by not being in the apartment at the time of her death. He feels like he took out a hit on the kid when he walked out on Janice. He really convinces himself, and is disappointed that the law doesn’t consider him a suspect. This guilt makes him more determined than ever to work things out with Janice. To stay with her forever to atone for his sins…but…

At the end of Rebecca June’s burial service he loudly accuses Janice of murdering their daughter and loudly proclaims his innocence. Humiliated, he runs.

He runs to Brewer, finds Ruth, and guesses she is pregnant. She is really nasty to him and threatens to abort the baby if he doesn’t divorce Janice so he can marry her. He agrees, but when he steps out to pick up food from the deli, as you’ve probably predicted, he runs…And the book ends.

  • Chapter 1

    • The novel begins with twenty-six-year-old, six foot three Rabbit Angstrom coming on the scene of a basketball game being played by boys who are wearing Keds and have high voices.
    • He has pale blue eyes and a pale face and something about him – the way his mouth looks as he puts a smoke in it – gives us a hint to his nickname.
    • The boys are suspicious of his cocoa suit wearing, cigarette smoking, no car self, and think he could be a pervert.
    • But they know he’s outnumbered. So they let him take a shot when he takes the ball, which he handles in a rabbity way. He scores.
    • The boys say it’s luck. He says it’s skill.
    • He takes another shot but misses. They let him join the game.
    • Rabbit takes a handicap but he’s just too good.
    • He is irritated by their lack of dialogue with him, but he game and the silence continues until it's down to him and one guy.
    • The boy is “still midget,” and “a natural.” Rabbit thinks his cap makes him look stupid.
    • Rabbit wishes he was still famous as a high-school basketball star.
    • His Rabbit’s junior league record was held for four years, broken two years ago, ending his stardom. Now he’s just another grownup.
    • Rabbit does lots of fancy moves and then gets irritated when he loses his breath.
    • The game breaks up when all parties grow a bit bored. Rabbit bids them adieu.
    • Now Rabbit is running, holding his folded coat “like a letter.”
    • It’s March, and the smoke in his mouth contrasts with the taste of spring so he gets rid of his smokes.
    • He runs uphill through Mt. Judge, a suburb of Pennsylvania’s fifth largest city, Brewer.
    • Rabbit gets to his building and goes to the top floor, where his apartment is, and we get the idea his neighborhood and his building are kind of run down.
    • The door to his home is locked!
    • His hand is shaking when he unlocks the door.
    • His wife is inside drinking an old-fashioned and watching TV.
    • He wants to know why the door was locked.
    • She can’t explain, irritating him. But he kisses her anyway and thinks how she’s not pretty anymore, but that she could be again, perhaps.
    • He tries joking around with her about the locked door, asking her what she’s afraid of.
    • When she doesn’t respond he hangs up his coat (neatly).
    • We get the idea the apartment is cramped. Rabbit has to be careful not to disturb the TV cord when he’s hanging the coat in the closet.
    • He remembers how he saved the TV from destruction when Janice, when she was drunk/and or pregnant, got her ankle tangled in the cord, before having a panic attack.
    • He wonders why she has panic attacks, what she fears, and is still mad about the locked door.
    • Then he asks her why she’s here but not the car.
    • She says it’s at her mother’s, and he wants to know why.
    • Then they start watching the Mickey Mouse Club. A Tootsie Roll commercial comes on, which sickens Rabbit.
    • Janice asks him if he has a cigarette. She calls him “Harry,” not Rabbit.
    • He tells her he tossed the pack.
    • She finally looks at Rabbit, and asks him if he’s “becoming a saint,” not indulging in smoking and drinking.
    • He shushes her when the Mickey Mouse Club comes back on.
    • Rabbit is totally into this, and thinks Jimmie, MC of the Mickey Mouse Club, can offer advice that will help him with the job he’s had for four weeks selling a kitchen gadget.
    • Now for a lovely quote:
    • “ ‘Proverbs, proverbs, they’re so true,’ Jimmie sings, strumming his mouseguitar, ‘proverbs tell us what to do; proverbs help us all bee better – Mouse-ke-teers’” (1.28).
    • Wasn’t that fun?
    • Then Jimmie gives us an actual proverb, apparently passed down to him from a “wise old Greek”: “Know Thyself.” He talks about being an individual and that God wants us to be what we are and the he gave each of us “a special talent.”
    • Then Janice and Rabbit, Christians, get nervous because he is talking about God.
    • Rabbit tries to imitate Jimmie’s farewell wink and grin, then thinks that both Disney and the company he works for, the MagiPeel Peeler Company are “frauds.”
    • He thinks his company, the MagiPeel Peeler Company and Walt Disney are “frauds.”
    • He resigns himself to being a part of the deception, and even likes the idea a little.
    • Janice turns off the TV, possibly to avoid watching the six o’clock news.
    • Rabbit asks her where their kid is.
    • The kid is at Rabbit’s mother’s.
    • He accuses Janice of not having herself together, and disdains the look of her late pregnancy.
    • When she tells him she was tired, Rabbit blames it on her drinking.
    • As she tries to explain the shopping trip with her mother, he doesn’t like the look of her.
    • We learn he’s a little older than her and that they married when she was a few months pregnant.
    • Rabbit vacillates between disgust and tenderness for her.
    • When he learns she bought a bathing suit out of nostalgia for pre-pregnancy days Rabbit loses it.
    • She’s about to cry and she calls him a bastard.
    • He hugs her, tries to rub his “groin” on her out of “affectionate reflex,” but is impeded from doing so by the protrusion of their unborn child.
    • He softens again, though isn’t comfortable holding her.
    • Surprising him, she asks him not to run from her, and tells him she loves him.
    • He says, “I love you,” and asks her to tell him about the bathing suit, which we find out is red.
    • Then she tells him that shopping expedition made her varicose veins hurt, and she wanted to self-medicate with a drink.
    • The she gives him a hard time about being late. And he tells her about the game.
    • They are no longer hugging.
    • She says she tried to sleep because her mom thought she didn’t look rested.
    • He says she, being a “modern housewife,” should look tired.
    • She gives him a hard time about playing ball like a kid.
    • He sees she misinterpreted his housewife comment and he thinks how dumb she is.
    • He gives her a hard time about watching kid’s TV.
    • She reminds her he “shushed her” when it was on. He tells her off and she decides to make diner.
    • He decides to go get the kid and the car, both mad and not mad at Janice.
    • First he gives her a hard time about Nelson being at Rabbit’s mother’s, and berates her about all kinds of things, thinking she could be used to hearing it from him by now.
    • He thinks about their prenuptial life in an apartment borrowed from her friend.
    • See, Rabbit and Janice both worked at Kroll’s. She was a candy and nut girl. He was a furniture mover and a crate unpacker.
    • They would meet after work in a chamber of Kroll's. The green stained glass between the chamber’s doors made the room look like the room was underwater.
    • They would swim out slowly, escaping the hated Kroll’s, then head for the borrowed room, not talking about what they were going to do.
    • They would have sex in the late afternoon light.
    • She wouldn’t let him look, but would have an orgasm as soon as he entered her.
    • The Angstrom’s kitchen is a cramped affair, populated with outdated machines.
    • Rabbit gives Janice a hard time when she drops something.
    • He gets his coat and starts internally moaning about how the place is a mess and nobody cares but him. (The place really does sound like a mess.)
    • He can’t decide whether to fetch kid or car first, but finally decides kid first, even though his mom will slow him up, because she has lots of power over him.
    • Janice asks him to bring back smokes.
    • He takes her tone as forgiving, but once outside he feels trapped.
    • He splits as it's getting dark, walking downhill to his folks place, occasionally touching trees and stuff that he passes.
    • He gets to the Corner of Wilbur Street and Potter Avenue.
    • The two telephone poles that hold insulators remind him of how he used to like climbing them in hopes of hearing adult conversations through the wires, like an entrance to a secret world.
    • He walks along Potter, crossing the street at the next corner, and remembers falling into a gutter that used to be filled with the watery refuse of an ice factory when he was messing around trying to catch the eyes of girls.
    • He used to walk home Margaret Schoelkopf, full of life, who had spontaneous nosebleeds and a drunk dad and whose parents made her dress out of fashion.
    • He walks past the back of box factory, employer of middle aged women, and past the face of a beer outlet.
    • Past a farmhouse – abandoned, made of stone. One of the oldest buildings in Mount Judge. It used to rule half the land in the town and now it’s fallen to ruin, its yard taken over by nature and junk. He soon comes to the Sunshine Athletic Association, a place that scares him and which he’s been to before, visiting his old coach, Marty Tothero, influential in town before he got fired over some scandal.
    • He did dig Tothero though, a man who was second only to Rabbit’s mother in influencing Rabbit.
    • We interrupt this program for a geography lesson. We proudly present the Mt. Judge-Brewer area:
    • Mount Judge is on the east side of the mountain.
    • West Mt. Judge looks down on Brewer.
    • The town of Mt. Judge and the city of Brewer meet on a southbound mountain highway that leads to Philadelphia, which is fifty miles away.
    • A two-mile-long stretch of mountain will always prevent Brewer and Mr. Judge from becoming one city.
    • At the bottom of the mountains human kind is leaving its mark, but the top is acres of virgin forest. Rabbit remembers being lost in those woods and being scared and rewarding himself for finding the way out, with candy and the view of red orange Brewer.
    • Now we are back in the present, where it’s getting dark, and it is “just a few minutes after six a day before the vernal equinox” (1.70).
    • Rabbit remembers being a caddy. Then he starts hurrying, turns left of Jackson Road, the site of the hutch (a story brick one) of his youth, in which he dwelled for twenty years.
    • The Angstroms envied their neighbors’ patch of land: it was on the corner and had a side yard, and more light. The Angstroms felt trapped and cramped by the Bolgers.
    • Our sneaky bunny sneaks up on his hutch, jumping over the hedge, then scampers down the grass patch between his house and the other neighboring one.
    • The Zims used to live there. (And now we are in Rabbit’s memory.) Mrs. Zim used to scream at her exotically beautiful daughter Caroline whenever they were together, from first thing in the morning.
    • At night Mr. Zim would fight with Mrs. Zim, defending Caroline.
    • There was neighborhood gossip about which Zim would murder which other Zim.
    • Caroline was seen as “cold-blooded,” always smiling, never letting on about her homelife.
    • Rabbit’s mother thought that Caroline and her mother should straighten up, or they would drive off their “protector.”
    • She was wrong; the Zim’s moved away together to Cleveland, Ohio.
    • The Angstroms didn’t think they would miss the Zims, but did.
    • See, Mr. Zim used to cut the strip of grass between their two houses and the new neighbor (a Methodist) only cut his half!
    • Mrs. Angstrom couldn’t handle this and so their half of the strip became overgrown.
    • The city told them to mow it, but Mrs. Angstrom said it was her “flowerbed,” embarrassing Rabbit.
    • Rabbit and his dad ended up getting it up to code on the sly, making Rabbit feel guilty and afraid his parents would fight.
    • He hated the arguments; they choked him off, sapped him, caused him to retreat.
    • He couldn’t believe it when Mr. Angstrom told Mrs. Angstrom that the Methodist did it.
    • His mom wanted to sue “the holy-roller” for cutting up her flowerbed. End memory.
    • He goes around to the kitchen window and peeps in.
    • He sees his son in the highchair and, for a minute thinks it is his young self, and becomes jealous of that self, being fed by his mother, who smiles when Nelson eats.
    • His dad’s just home from work, is wearing an ink marked shirt and is smiling at Nelson, but looks old when he stops.
    • His sister, Miriam, is dressed up in black and gold clothes, and offers the baby some of her food. Nelson tries to take her spoon. Pop laughs and Mim smiles.
    • Rabbit remembers giving her rides on his handlebars.
    • After Rabbit notices that his mother isn’t smiling, but feeding the baby with her mouth set, he concludes that “this home is happier than his” and leaves back the way he came.
    • (It’s okay to cry now.)
    • He runs to his car, but gets scared when he doesn’t have the key.
    • He hopes Janice was “sloppy” by leaving it in the car, instead of “sloppy” for not giving it to him. He thinks how little he knows her and how dumb she is. She is dumb.
    • He sneaks to his car, wanting to avoid Mrs. Springer, and thinking how the Springers are pushy and how Mr. Springer made him buy the expensive car, event though he had one.
    • He finds the keys in the car and drives off, fast. He runs a stop sign.
    • The he stops when he sees he’s headed for Philadelphia, where he doesn’t want to go.
    • He doesn’t want to go the other way either, through Brewer at rush hour, because he never wants to see Brewer again.
    • So he keeps going and the highway gets wide and he turns on the radio.
    • Rabbit feels clean and wants a cigarette. He feels cleaner when he remembers he quit.
    • He relaxes a little, listening to the music, until dinner music comes in, reminding him of Janice’s bad cooking.
    • He wants to think happy thoughts, but feels like he’s about to shoot a basket with one hand and that he will fall from a high place into a void when he shoots.
    • When he tries to imagine the happy scene at the Angstrom House, he instead pictures Nelson crying. Then he remembers sleeping with Janice in her friend’s bed.
    • He tries to hide the memory by thinking of Mim, and giving her rides on his bike, and her telling him she loved him.
    • He thinks Janice is probably trying to find him now, and that she’s dumb.
    • He asks her forgiveness.
    • He nears the lights of Philadelphia, a place he hates because it’s polluted. He wants to go to the deep South, to drive straight through until noon the next day, to the Gulf of Mexico, and fall asleep on the beach.
    • Unfortunately, he’s going East, toward industrial pollution and dense population.
    • He realizes that South is to the right, and then miraculously, a sign for Route 100 to Westchester Wilmington, a town which is owned by the du Ponts, and he wonders what it’s like to be that rich. He feels trapped by this road and randomly turns off it to the right.
    • He fantasizes about naked du Pont women and thinks naked women are like millions of dollars.
    • He ruminates about the ways different kinds of women are different when having sex.
    • He’s heading west now on Route 23.
    • He stops at about 7:30 at a hardware store/gas station for a fill up.
    • The middle-aged attendant comes out, and Rabbit asks him to fill the tank with regular.
    • Rabbit finds out from the man that he is only sixteen miles away from Brewer, even though he drove forty. But it seems really far away, and smells older, yet more virginal.
    • He starts asking the man where different directions would take him, and asks for a map.
    • Rabbit feels like a fugitive when he can’t tell the man where he’s going, and feels like he’s in a place where the law is heavy.
    • Thinking the attendant was too suspicious of him, he decides he’ll drive until he “was halfway to Georgia,” then pays three dollars and ninety cents for his gas.
    • When Rabbit pays he sees the guy has farmer hands (farmers don’t like sneaky rabbits) and is paranoid that the guy is on to his criminality.
    • Rabbit wants to run off, but instead counts his “lettuce,” seventy three bucks, as today was pay-day. The farmer comes back with the change and says he only has maps of New York City.
    • Rabbit heads for his car and feels the farmer behind him. When he gets in, the farmer is there at the window. He tells Rabbit he has to know where he’s going before he can get there.
    • Rabbit realizes the man has been drinking and disagrees.
    • He drives straight, toward Lancaster, not feeling clean anymore.
    • The icky experience with the farmer colors the rest of the landscape creepy.
    • He stops to eat at 8:04 in Lancaster.
    • He borrows a map and reads it while he eats a couple of burgers.
    • He sees he’s been going “more west than south.”
    • He decides to go from Lancaster to Maryland via 222, and then take 1 to Florida. He eats some pie (like Mom’s – with cinnamon) and pays.
    • He feels better as the food was good, the burgers better than in Brewer.
    • Now he drives through to Oakland, Maryland.
    • We are given a long paragraph that lists every song and commercial and news bulletin Rabbit hears. (See Shmoop "Shout-Outs" for the list.)
    • He gets to Route 1, feeling more and more confused. He gets another map and reads it by a Coke machine.
    • It’s 10:10 p.m. and Rabbit’s is driving west, his mind and the “animal” inside fighting over whether to go west or south.
    • The landscape gets less cultured as he drives, and then he crosses the Potomac.
    • Fighting sleep, he stops for coffee at almost midnight in Frederick.
    • He feels alienated from the other customers in the café, and that they are aware of the difference. They got quiet when he came in and now are being too polite.
    • He has heard America was the same all over. Now he wonders if he’s only an outsider here, or if he’s an outsider in all of America.
    • On his way back to the car he thinks he’s being followed.
    • It’s a couple, making haste to their car, which has West Virginia plates, like all the other cars but his. He gets back in to the car, feeling low.
    • He drives and realizes he’s been mad since he left the diner and makes a bad move on the snaky highway, but regains his stance, speeding just a little.
    • He turns off the radio, wanting nothing but to sleep in the sand.
    • He’s angry he’s not gone far enough. The land stays the same, looking more and more like Mt. Judge country.
    • He feels like he’s in a thickening “net.”
    • His mind and the animal inside him are fighting about which way to go again.
    • His “instincts” don’t want him to, but Rabbit takes an unmarked road, which he is sure is a shortcut.
    • Rabbit realizes he’s on the wrong road, but is scared to turn around, and hope it won’t end.
    • He almost gets hit by an oncoming vehicle.
    • Then he realizes he’s on a lover’s lane, which does end, actually, at a highway on which Rabbit can turn north or south.
    • Rabbit pulls off to check the map. He’s confused and doesn’t remember the way he came.
    • He can’t find anything on the map but the Pennsylvania-Maryland border, the Mason Dixon line. He thinks of learning that in a school full of “tight girlish ass.”
    • He gets even more confused and the map turns into a “net he is somehow caught in.”
    • He tears it up, rolls the pieces into a ball, and tosses it out, scattering the pieces.
    • He’s mad about not following his instinct and not being in South Carolina yet.
    • He wants to smoke so he can find his instinct now, and decides to take a nap.
    • But a car comes up behind him and he remembers he’s in the middle of the road. He gets scared, feels chased, and gets on the highway, going north.
    • It was easier going back than leaving. The music is ad-free now and calms him.
    • He’s not tired any more, but in the zone, not caring, just performing the action.
    • He can get that way at the end of a basketball game, too.
    • Rabbit has a happy memory of a fat guy that made Rabbit feel all nice inside when he would cheer “Hey Gunner! Hey Showboat, shoot. Shoot!” He was that guy’s hero.
    • He keeps driving through and his brain is addled but receiving all the signs of modern life coming at it. He’s at one with the machine he’s driving.
    • He drives into Brewer from the side, as the sun is rising and nearly hits a stationary milk truck on Jackson.
    • He passes his parents’ house, turns onto Kegerise and parks at the Sunshine Athletic Club to wait for Coach Tothero to come out.
    • Rabbit wants to nap, but wants a quick getaway if necessary, and not to miss Tothero.
    • He is having trouble balancing sleeping and not missing Tothero. Plus he’s feeling vulnerable again.
    • He makes sure all the car windows are locked, and he relaxes, but can’t get comfy.
    • Then he starts thinking about his family, and then gets scared of police.
    • He thinks his night caused chaos, which is tightening the net he’s in the middle of.
    • And About how Janice was shy about being naked, but that she surprised him once.
    • He walked in when she was getting out of a steamy bath, and she was drunk and happy.
    • He wakes up, and sees Tothero walking away and starts to call him.
    • Tothero looks like a dwarf in too big clothes (a checkered sport coat and blue pants).
    • Tothero welcomes Rabbit, and Rabbit observes how he’s aged.
    • Rabbit first says he needs advice, but then says he needs sleeping quarters, explaining how he left home.
    • Tothero wants to give him advice but Rabbit is tired and scared, afraid Tothero is senile now.
    • He says Rabbit looks bad and agrees to let him sleep at the club, if he will listen to his advice in the morning, and that together they would find a way to help Janice.
    • Rabbit agrees but says he isn’t “interested” in his wife anymore.
    • They go into the club together, through a door that looks like part of the wall, and up rickety stairs to a very small room facing east.
    • Rabbit goes to the bathroom downstairs.
    • When he comes back and then he think Tothero wants to see him take off his clothes, so he does. He’s not into it, but is very into the idea of sleeping.
    • He thinks that Tothero isn’t gay, but just wants to bring back the locker room days.
    • Rabbit feels better and he loosens up.
    • He thinks of his first visit to house of prostitution in Texas, and how he was nervous, and how the girls not being huge beauties made it easier for him.
    • Rabbit didn’t like that the prostitute “faked her half.” He wanted to go again but hadn’t paid so didn’t get to. He thinks she was sweet.

  • Chapter 2

    • Rabbit dreams and sleeps like a traumatized person. He wakes as it’s getting dark.
    • He hears the men downstairs and in confused dreaminess thinks they hunt him.
    • He hears Tothero and realizes the men are just being men together.
    • He wakes to Tothero yelling his name.
    • He’s been drinking and says he has a female for Rabbit.
    • The he asks Tothero if it’s Janice.
    • He tells Rabbit it’s after six, and that they shall be dining out.
    • He asks about the girl, and Tothero tells him about his woman.
    • Rabbit gets scared and tries to leave.
    • Tothero gets emotional and Rabbit wants to get away from him, but stays out of respect.
    • Rabbit reminds him they’re supposed to talk about Janice, and Tothero says they will talk about that after they’ve taken care of business.
    • Rabbit dresses nervously and Tothero offers Rabbit a clean shirt to wear to Brewer and it turns out they wear the same size: “fifteen three,” or a 15.3 inch sleeve.
    • Tothero is brimming with delight. Rabbit is looking in the mirror and sees the shirt fits.
    • Tothero watches in a motherly fashion.
    • Rabbit begins to grock Tothero’s plan, now that he’s not so mortified.
    • Tothero wants to know when Rabbit last had some fun.
    • He tells him he did last night.
    • Tothero says that Rabbit will like his city woman.
    • He doesn’t know Tothero's companion, but Tothero says she thinks she’s fat.
    • Rabbit is nonchalant and feels calmer, free from his cramped apartment, but wants to know where his car is.
    • Tothero says it’s still there, and starts hurrying Rabbit.
    • Rabbit wants to know if there was gossip about him in town.
    • He keeps thinking of his wife and kid.
    • Tothero says he hasn’t heard anything, but that he wasn’t places where he would have.
    • It rankles Rabbit that Tothero seems only to care about partying with him.
    • He grumbles about missing work, his voice accusing. Saturdays are banner sales days.
    • Tothero asks about his job, and Rabbit tells him about selling the MagiPeel Peeler in what we might call today a dollar store. Tothero approves and is happy Rabbit is dressed.
    • Now Rabbit wants a comb and needs to go the bathroom.
    • Rabbit hears the men downstairs and worries about them seeing him.
    • When they get to the bar, the men stare at Rabbit.
    • Tothero keeps introducing him and bragging on his county records in 1950 and 1951.
    • (Ah ha! If Rabbit was twenty six when we met him yesterday, and this is 8 years later than when he got his last record, this must be 1959!)
    • Rabbit thinks Tothero looks foolish to the men and is ashamed of him, so he hides in the can.
    • The bathroom depresses and paralyzes him, so he goes back to Tothero.
    • They get in Rabbit’s car and drive toward Brewer, and Tothero starts talking about his lady friend and how much Rabbit will like her.
    • He’s acting very strange and jerky and then he tells Rabbit that he (Tothero) is a horrible guy who should be hated, and then starts talking about his wife.
    • He says that in 1943, during World War II, his wife’s skin turned into an awful patchwork of tough skin, and that’s when things started to go bad.
    • He wants to know if Rabbit is listening.
    • Rabbit tries to talk to him about Janice again.
    • Tothero calls her a mutt and says they should talk about the real women, who are in abundant supply.
    • In spite of Tothero’s nuttiness, Rabbit is a little excited.
    • They park, and go to the women at a Chinese restaurant. Rabbit gets nervous when he sees them.
    • Tothero introduces Margaret Kasko and Rabbit, and she reminds him of Janice.
    • She introduces him to Ruth Leonard, but forgets his name.
    • He says to call him Harry or Rabbit.
    • Ruth calls him “a big bunny.”
    • Ruth is a voluptuous (what Rabbit calls “chunky”), tall woman, in a green dress, with reddish-brownish hair in a bun. She has on sandals that are too small for her feet.
    • He says he’s only “big outside.” She says she’s the same.
    • Rabbit says he’s hungry. Tothero is glad and they walk into the restaurant.
    • Turns out Rabbit and Ruth were both in the class of 1951, though at rival schools.
    • Her school lost to his.
    • Rabbit disparages the team. She defends them. Having dated three of them, she knows.
    • Rabbit wants to know if it was a foursome. She says: “In a way.”
    • She has trouble walking in those shoes, but he likes her outfit and her voluptuousness.
    • He bumps into her and feels and smells her hair with his bunny nose.
    • Then they banter about whether Tothero is a bum or not.
    • It seems like she doesn’t know much about Tothero.
    • Rabbit defends him, citing his coaching history as evidence of his credibility.
    • Ruth offers Rabbit a smoke, but he holds strong. Tothero admits he is a bum, playing the jolly reveler. Margaret defends her prince against the bum charges.
    • Turns out that can drink can be procured here, via the bar next door.
    • Tothero orders a double scotch whiskey.
    • Margaret, Ruth, and Rabbit order Daiquiris.
    • Rabbit wants to know why Ruth recognized him but not the coach.
    • She makes disparaging comments about coaches and Rabbit defends coaches.
    • They banter about whether a team is “all coach,” Rabbit’s position, or “all boy,” Tothero’s position and surely Ruth’s too, and maybe Margaret’s – but she isn’t talking.
    • She’s a hard core flirt, and Rabbit digs her forthrightness.
    • This is getting steamy.
    • The waiter tries to give them silverware, but Tothero spurns it, requiring chopsticks for all.
    • Now we hear from Margaret, who clings frantically to her cutlery, clearly afraid of the deadly chopstick.
    • Rabbit and Ruth are cool with the chopsticks.
    • They banter about the phenomenon of Chinese food in Texas.
    • Rabbit tries to bum a smoke. They get into a nuanced spat about this, and about him asking her for a dime. He gets all paranoid and gets his own for the tabletop jukebox.
    • She gives him a smoke. He isn’t holding a grudge.
    • The waiter comes with menus and plastic chopsticks. Rabbit, ever alert for quality, yearns for wooden ones.
    • Margaret picks sweet and sour pork. Rabbit and Ruth flirt about his Chinese food experiences in Texas. He claims to be able only to read Chinese food menus in Chinese.
    • She questions his claim to past Texas residency. His memory confirms he was there.
    • She says the Army doesn’t count, annoying Rabbit.
    • Tothero starts in about coaching. A coach coaches three aspects of a boy: head, body, and heart.
    • Ruth adds “crotch,” making Margaret laugh, which makes Rabbit more weirded out by her. Tothero gets mad and hurts her feelings.
    • Tothero continues: The head needs strategy.
    • He makes sure Rabbit is listening. The body needs running, lots of running.
    • When he talks about the heart, it’s a bit more complicated.
    • The good coach swells a boy’s heart. And then the boy can never really be a “failure.”
    • Ruth asks Rabbit about his work. He tells about the MagiPeel Peeler.
    • Tothero praises his work prowess, and Rabbit asks about Ruth’s work.
    • She claims not to have one, coyly sipping her drink. When the food gets there, Rabbit is drooling. He likes how the meat is disguised down to highlight the vegetables.
    • Veggies are “candy” to Rabbit. And the portions of white rice are “steaming breasts.”
    • Everybody at the table gets “a hot breast.”
    • They eat and are rejuvenated, and Rabbit praises Tothero’s coaching skills.
    • Tothero praises Rabbit’s athletic tendencies.
    • Rabbit brings up a short guy that tripped him in a game.
    • Tothero seems surprised not to remember the incident, and wants to hear that Rabbit avenged himself violently.
    • Rabbit cannot oblige. He never needed to resort to violence.
    • Tothero is bothered by his hazy memory but he remembers that Rabbit was not prone to injury. Rabbit reminds him of a wrist sprain. Tothero is bothered by his memory lapses.
    • Rabbit mentions “Harrison.”
    • Ruth clearly knows him, which makes Rabbit think she might have slept with him, as he was a “bedbug.”
    • She gets less certain of knowing him when Rabbit seems alarmed.
    • He admires the way she eats, in contrast to Margaret’s yucky fork eating.
    • Tothero is concerned that they lost games in the past
    • He orders another round. Rabbit declines another drink. Margaret gives a hard time, increasing his hate for her.
    • Rabbit tries to remember where his best game was played.
    • Rabbit wants Tothero to remember the name of the school – the name having something to do with birds.
    • Tothero seems troubled by his inability to remember. Rabbit remembers exuberantly that it was Oriole High. Rabbit remembers even the details of the weather.
    • Tothero comments on the superiority of Rabbit’s memory, then snags his drink off the waiter’s tray. Rabbit talks about being in the zone that night at Oriole.
    • Tothero doesn’t remember and Rabbit wants the others to feel how he felt: powerful and strong. Margaret is sarcastic in her praise of him.
    • Tothero call hers a tramp and she smacks him. Tothero and Margaret leave, fighting a little bit. Ruth and Rabbit discuss Margaret being a hitter, her having hit Ruth.
    • Ruth thinks Tothero likes it. They agree she is dumb.
    • Rabbit reveals he is married, but has left. Ruth says it’s just a holiday.
    • Rabbit tells the waiter not to worry, that he will get the bill. He starts telling Ruth about Janice. She stops him.
    • He asks her weight, which is 147 pounds. He praises her pounds, and she doesn’t want to talk about that either. So he talks about the MagiPeel Peeler.
    • That doesn’t work either. Things get awkward.
    • Rabbit finds out that Ruth’s roommate moved out.
    • He’s concerned that she has to pay the whole rent and “doesn’t do anything.”
    • He offers her some rent money. She accepts, asking for fifteen dollars, five more than he offered. Rabbit pays the bill and they leave.

  • Chapter 3

    • They walk together on the street, kind of arguing.
    • Rabbit thinks she isn’t keen on him, same as the Texas prostitute.
    • Rabbit says: “Come on now, be a pleasant cunt,” showing he will not be impeded by her toughness. They walk now, each with an arm around the other’s waist.
    • Ruth says he talked about himself too much at dinner.
    • He says he was a great athlete, though is nothing now.
    • She says she was a great cook, but that now she just eats out to find men.
    • They get to her building. They go to her apartment, on the second floor.
    • They go in and he starts kissing her and holds her roughly. She tells him to leave.
    • He says he just wanted to “hug” her. She says it was more like “kill” than hug.
    • She’s afraid he will prematurely ejaculate if they have sex. He promises not to.
    • She wants to take her clothes off in the bathroom. He wants to take them off for her.
    • She wants to put in a diaphragm. He doesn’t like them.
    • They banter about birth control. He is against it. She for it.
    • He insinuates he’d like to marry her.
    • He watches her pee, and flashing back to toilet training Nelson, praises her for a job well done.
    • He’s undressing her, and when he fumbles she tries to take over.
    • He says to relax and enjoy – that it’s their “wedding night.” He thinks she wants to hit him. She says men always want to “hurt…or be hurt.”
    • He tells her she is pretty. She makes mention again of her weight.
    • He lets her take off her stockings, fearing he will tear them. He continues undressing her.
    • He starts to get naked, too. Wanting her completely naked, he makes her take off her ring.
    • She laughs at his boxers – says they make him look like a rabbit.
    • He washes the makeup off her face with a washcloth.
    • They are in bed together, he does it like he does with Janice – trying to get her in the mood. He sits on her butt and massages her back.
    • They make love (it’s not clear if birth control is used) and she comes.
    • He says she’s pretty. She says she’s forgotten that she could have an orgasm, too.
    • She wants to go to the bathroom, and he tries to stop her.
    • He doesn’t like women to wash immediately after sex.
    • He wants some water. It depresses him to hear her washing.
    • He’s already snoozing when she comes back with his water.

  • Chapter 4

    • Rabbit has a confusing dream when he sleeps in Ruth’s bed. Rabbit and his parent and some others are at a kitchen table. A girl twists the handle of a “wooden ice-box.”
    • This opens the door to a cave with a big block of ice in it.
    • The block seems alive. His mother wants him to close the door.
    • He says the girl did it. The girl is hassled, and it makes Rabbit “bleed” inside.
    • Rabbit stops his mother, defending who he thinks is his sister, but is really Janice.
    • Now they are in Rabbit’s mother’s “flowerbed.” He hugs her.
    • Now they are behind the Mt. Judge Recreational Hall. Janice’s bawling in a pink dress.
    • He tries to reassure her that the scene with his mother was to hurt him, not her.
    • Then her face melts and melts, and drips into his hands.
    • He is relieved to wake up in Ruth’s bed. He starts snuggling her and touching her.
    • They have sex again. He makes sure she didn’t fake her orgasm.
    • They almost surely did not use protection this time. Church bells (now it’s Sunday) bring Rabbit to the window. The people going to church make Rabbit pray silently to Jesus for help and forgiveness for all. Ruth says all the church business of Sundays nauseates her, that she is not among the faithful. Rabbit says he thinks he is among the faithful.
    • They discuss belief and God. Ruth is hurt by his faith.
    • He tries to give her another fifteen dollars. She tells him to leave.
    • Then they engage in much playful banter.
    • She says she like that he is big, and that he is a fighter.
    • Rabbit totally loves this, and decides to go to the store so she can cook (since she likes to). She says she has no clients today.
    • He goes off to the store, thinking she is his now. He brings back an odd assortment of hot dogs, frozen vegetables, cheese, and sweets. Cost: Two dollars and forty three cents.
    • She thinks he doesn’t eat well. He says there weren’t any lamb chops; he did what he could. He checks out her place while she cooks.
    • Rabbit is hit by a memory of Sunday mornings when he was a kid, taking a walk when Mim was a baby. Then Ruth suggests they walk this afternoon.
    • He agrees.
    • The chow is good, but he remembers his nightmare of Janice’s melting skin, and almost loses his appetite. He tries, though, and gets it back.
    • He starts talking about his car, telling her about it.
    • He decides he wants to leave the car at Janice’s, and get his clothes, and move in with Ruth. She isn’t sure, so he says, “Just for tonight.”
    • He says he loves her. She says he’s “bad news.”
    • He really feels love for her and says she’s “good news.”
    • He feels good and bold driving toward the apartment he used to share with Janice.
    • He gets nervous when he gets closer to his place on Wilbur. He scopes it out, trying to see if someone is there. No one seems to be. He goes in.
    • It’s messy and abandoned. Janice floods him.
    • He wanders through the apartment trying to come to terms with things.
    • He thinks about when they made love after she took a shower.
    • In the kitchen he finds the dinner she was making for him the night he left.
    • He starts to take out the trash, but it’s too much, so he just soaks the dishes.
    • He gets some clothes and leaves, locking the key in the apartment.
    • He’s thinking of the stuff he needs that he forgot to get.
    • Outside he runs into a neighbor woman, in church clothes, carrying palm fronds.
    • It is Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter). They make small talk and a gray car goes by, slow. The neighbor realizes there is a clergyman in the car.
    • Rabbit knows he’s from the Episcopalian church the Springers attend.
    • There is a tiny chance the minister won’t be sure enough it’s him to stop him. But how many six foot three bunnies can there be wandering around Mt. Judge?
    • He leaves the area, wanting to get back to Ruth in Brewer. The clergyman is following him in the car. He asks in a kid’s voice if he’s Harry Angstrom.
    • Like a lie, Rabbit says yes.
    • The minister introduces himself, giggling, as Jack Eccles and gets out of his 1958 Buick.
    • He has a cigarette in his mouth but it’s not lit.
    • Rabbit has to put his clothes down to shake hands with Eccles, who shakes hands like hugging. He looks both worried and friendly.
    • Eccles asks him where he is going. Eccles is close to Rabbit’s age and is on the short end of tall, muscular. Rabbit says: “Nowhere.”
    • Eccles asks for a match. Rabbit, still quitting, has none. He offers Rabbit a ride. He refuses. Eccles wants to talk about Janice.
    • Rabbit notices that Eccles looks tired, thinking that Sundays would be lots of work for him.
    • Apparently, half an hour after he left, Janice called her in-laws asking them to bring Nelson home.
    • Rabbit’s father obliged, and then looked to see if Rabbit was playing basketball somewhere. Around 2:00 in the morning Janice had called her parents.
    • Rabbit feels sorry for her, wishes to comfort her from afar.
    • Janice was drunk and freaking out by then and her mom called Eccles to help.
    • Rabbit offers an apology for waking him. Eccles irritably brushes it off.
    • The minister is glad to hear it when Rabbits says he feels bad.
    • He asks Rabbit’s plan. Rabbit doesn’t have one.
    • Eccles laughs and Rabbit “feels flattered.”
    • Eccles says Rabbit’s mother thinks Rabbit hasn’t really left his family.
    • Rabbit lets Eccles know he understands how much work he has.
    • Rabbit asks for a ride to Brewer. Eccles seems surprised he doesn’t want to see Janice.
    • Rabbit thinks that would be hopeless. Eccles says that’s because Rabbit wants it to be hopeless. They drive away together.
    • Eccles wants to know why Rabbit ran, and Rabbit says it was her asking him to get cigarettes. He thinks this is the truth. He speaks of feeling trapped in a domestic mess.
    • He wants to know why Rabbit came back. Rabbit explains it was for his clothes.
    • Eccles tells him clean clothes won’t help hide his dirty actions.
    • Rabbit says he was dropping off the car, too.
    • Eccles puzzles over this and says if he was doing what Rabbit was, he’d drive far away in his car.
    • Rabbit sees this as common ground, and jubilantly exclaims that he did just that.
    • Eccles puzzles. Rabbit explains he felt safer here.
    • Eccles asks if he also wanted to protect Janice. This had not quite occurred to Rabbit.
    • Eccles wants to know why Rabbit thinks himself so special.
    • Essentially Rabbit says he’s looking for the things in his life to be of high quality, like him when he was a basketball star. His life with Janice was not high quality.
    • As they hit Brewer, Eccles asks if Rabbit is a believer.
    • Since it’s his second time being asked today, he easily says he is.
    • Eccles wants to know if Rabbit thinks God wants Rabbit to hurt Janice.
    • Rabbit snaps back with something he heard from MC Jimmie:
    • “Do you think God wants a waterfall to be a tree?” Rabbit thinks this is silly now, having said it. Eccles thinks and then says no, that God wants the tree to mature.
    • Rabbit says he doesn’t mind Eccles’ insult. Being mature is like being dead.
    • Eccles says he’s not mature either.
    • Rabbit is still hot at the insult and says he’ll never go back to his family, complaining about the MagiPeeler job. Eccles comments on Rabbit’s silver tongue.
    • They relax, understanding each other and themselves better.
    • Rabbit wants to get out on Weiser Street. Eccles’ golf clubs are making noise in the trunk.
    • Rabbit gets invited to golf.
    • He agrees to come to Eccles’ house for golf the day after tomorrow at two.
    • He wants Rabbit to promise, which he does, but warns that his promises are no good.
    • Eccles says he has to trust him anyway.
    • Rabbit is amused by the situation and feels good about things.
    • When he gets back, Ruth greets him at the door, holding a mystery novel.
    • They banter and indulge in sexy talk. Ruth asks him about his trip.
    • He tells her about the leaving the car and everything that happened with Eccles. Their conversation is easy. He’s glad to get clean clothes on and he shaves with Ruth’s razor.
    • He wants to go for that walk now, but Ruth is reading The Deaths at Oxford, a mystery (which the Internet hasn’t heard of).
    • He tries to take the book, wondering how she could read with him in the room.
    • He succeeds in de-booking her and insists on the walk.
    • She says she’s sleepy. He teases her that they will hit the sack early.
    • He likes that she knows this is sexy talk. They talk about her having only high heeled shoes. She puts on her heels and he admires the part in her hair.
    • They walk through the park to get to the mountain.
    • They start up the overgrown, log steps the city built up the mountain when hiking was more popular.
    • This is hard in heels and, when they are almost halfway, Rabbit suggests she removes her shoes. She worries it will hurt her feet. Rabbit suggests they go back down.
    • She wants to persevere, but does soon take off her shoes.
    • Rabbit takes his off too, and whines a little, good-naturedly.
    • The logs have grass growing on their ends and this is what Rabbit and Ruth walk on.
    • Rabbit hugs her and, when she doesn’t respond, determines she’s not having fun and is just walking to reach the end. A woman thing. He calls her a queen and a horse.
    • Maybe she understands that when Rabbit calls you an animal, it’s usually some kind of compliment. They get to the top and walk up three flights of zigzaggy steps.
    • They are in the Pinnacle Hotel parking lot. They look down on the city.
    • He wants to breathe in the city’s truth. He realizes all the talk of God today had got to him.
    • He thinks of someone dying in the city. He hears the traffic.
    • He gets scared and wants a hug and Ruth, though reserved, comforts him.
    • He asks her if she “was really a hooer.” She’s not pleased. He is nervous.
    • She asks if he is “really a rat.” Carefully, he says: “In a way.”
    • She says: “All right then,” and they bus back to Brewer.
  • Chapter 5

    • Tuesday is cloudy as Rabbit busses to Mt. Judge to see Eccles.
    • He gets off the bus at Spruce and is walking around singing “Oh I’m just wild about Harry.” He is feeling good. He has fourteen bucks, and he saw by snooping in her bank book that Ruth has money in her account.
    • They went bowling and to the movies four times.
    • Ruth’s humor and quirkiness seem to please him.
    • She kept asking Rabbit “is she a real hooer” about Ingrid Bergman whenever the camera was on her in Inn of The Sixth Happiness.
    • He gets to Eccles’s place and is greeted by a saucy green-eyed, freckle faced woman in orange shorts. Rabbit knows right away that she wants him.
    • He greets her arrogantly. He asks for Eccles, who is sleeping, having worked late last night. Rabbit is sympathetic, but insists he was invited.
    • The Eccles’ receiving room is pretty fancy with lots of framed pictures.
    • Rabbit finds it cold and is drawn to the smell of baking.
    • They hear a bumping sound. She says: “I thought the brat was asleep.”
    • Rabbit asks if she is the baby sitter. But she is not. She is Mrs. Eccles.
    • Rabbit is wearing a blue golf shirt.
    • They sit and he sees she is older than he first thought, but has “firm knockers.”
    • He learns the Eccles have two sons and two daughters.
    • He speaks of Nelson. She says boys are easier for her. She and the girls are so similar they can read each other’s minds, creating clashes.
    • Rabbit is shocked and wants to know if Eccles knows.
    • Apparently Eccles favors the girls (the wife calls them his harem, which is a little disturbing) so it’s an even deal.
    • She says males are sexually threatening to other males from birth. She wants to know if Rabbit is threatened by Nelson. He is not. She compares Freud to God.
    • For a minute she reminds him of Ruth. He is surprised to find “there is a world of women outside Janice.”
    • Then Eccles is crying to Lucy, his wife, that Joyce is trying to get in with him, and that she claims to have gotten permission. Lucy is proud.
    • She gets up and hollers up to him that he has a guest.
    • Rabbit yells up about to him that they were to play golf. Eccles promises to come down.
    • A kid, presumably, Joyce is crying and blaming her mother.
    • When Joyce hears her husband call him Harry, she starts giving him the third degree, and realizes he’s the abandoner. He confirms that information, and he “slaps! her sassy ass.”
    • Her blood rises but her eyes are cold. Eccles appears, disheveled, sleepy, and apologetic.
    • Rabbits thinks it’s off, and comments on the cloudy weather, then remembers how nice Lucy’s butt felt. Rabbit thinks she would have ratted him out if she wasn’t irritated that Eccles was going to play golf. She pesters him about people he needs to call on.
    • They argue about a couple named the Ferrys. She wants him to bring them into the fold.
    • He doesn’t want to bother. He claims she wants Mr. Ferry in because of his shoe factory.
    • Apparently Lucy is not a believer, and Eccles consented to marry her as long as she was open to the possibility. Joyce appears, and is sent back to nap.
    • She says it’s too noisy. Her parents accuse each other of yelling.
    • The child claims to have dreamed that “a lion ate a boy.”
    • Lucy blames this on the Hilaire Belloc poems Eccles reads her before she sleeps, claiming they are traumatic. Eccles says she likes them, that they are funny.
    • She doesn’t like the questions the poems provoke. Eccles says they wouldn’t bother her if she were a believer. Rabbit stops them for a second when he smells “burning cake.”
    • The Eccles keep arguing between themselves and the child.
    • Eccles tells Joyce to talk to Rabbit. Rabbit asks her if she is good. She says she is.
    • He asks, hoping Lucy will hear, if Lucy is good. Joyce says she is.
    • Then Rabbit asks Joyce: “What makes her so good?”
    • The question scares the child almost to tears and she runs off.
    • Rabbit surveys the room and thinks of Lucy and decides he loves her.
    • Rabbit hears the Eccles talking about him. Eccles tells her Rabbit is scared.
    • She doesn’t understand why Eccles can’t talk to Rabbit without Eccles playing golf with him. Rabbit thinks she will tell of the butt slapping now, but she does not.
    • The domestic hustle and bustle continues and then they leave, taking Eccles’ car.
    • Eccles starts the conversation off by bringing up Rabbit’s believer status and the tree and the waterfall. Rabbit admits to plagiarizing “Mickey Mouse.”
    • Eccles laughs, flirting with Rabbit with his mouth. He wants to know what’s “inside” Rabbit.
    • Alas, this does not entice Rabbit to speak. He thinks he’s just a pawn in Eccles’ game.
    • He gives a Eccles a very nothing answer. Eccles has a confidence about him.
    • Rabbit asks about Janice. Eccles, reporting Rabbit’s thereabouts to the Springers, witnessed Janice with Nelson and a friend of hers with mirrored glasses.
    • Peggy Fosnacht neé Gring. Wife of Ollie – a “jerk,” according to Rabbit.
    • This leads to a discussion of the name Fosnacht, and a combination of folklore and urban legend.
    • In Mt. Judge/Brewer they “celebrate” Fosnacht Day, which they do not celebrate where Eccles comes from, Norwalk.
    • Apparently, if you are the last one down the stairs on Fosnacht Day, you are the Fosnacht.
    • Rabbit’s grandfather would wait for Rabbit to emerge from his hollow before descending, lest Rabbit be the Fosnacht. This was his maternal grandfather.
    • Eccles speaks of his paternal grandfather’s and his complex religious heritage.
    • Grandfather was a bishop, then joined the Unitarians when he couldn’t beat them.
    • Eccles father was “orthodox” and “almost Anglo-Catholic,” which locked father in son in perpetual religious conflict. It was his grandfather who turned him on to Belloc.
    • Lucy doesn’t like Belloc because he “mocks children,” who are sacred in her religion, which is psychology.
    • Turns out Eccles’ father found worship services boring and wanted to bore others with them as little as possible.
    • He thought that the “jungle god” was not at home in the living room.
    • The grandfather’s objects were depressing for the father, and Eccles and his brothers were afraid of this.
    • Eccles adored his grandfather, but found him both extreme and diluted at the same time.
    • Eccles cites Jesus and his grandfather in defining hell as “a separation from God.”
    • Rabbit says that everyone is relatively separated from God.
    • Eccles objects, arguing that we don’t know from separation, that real separation from God would be far more terrifying and dark than we can imagine.
    • Laughing, he says that the kind of separation Rabbit speaks of is “inner,” whereas the hell kind is “outer.” Rabbit lets his guard down, and is excited at making a friend.
    • Rabbit says he thinks something out there in the world “wants him to find it.”
    • Eccles smacks him down by saying that all bums think they are questers.
    • Rabbit's like: Jesus was a quester. Eccles starts to blush or break out because Rabbit said Jesus. He rebuts with a quote from Jesus: “Saints shouldn’t marry.”
    • They arrive at Chestnut Grove Golf Course, where Rabbit used to caddy. Back then this was very primitive, not all plush like now.
    • Eccles offers Rabbit a job gardening for Mrs. Horace Smith and her eight acres.
    • Rabbit says he doesn’t garden. (Bunnies eat gardens, they don't tend them, silly.)
    • Eccles tells him it will give him free time to practice his gift of gab on “the multitudes.”
    • Rabbit does not appreciate this sophisticated jab which, by comparing Rabbit to a preacher, to Jesus, to saints, and to himself, mocks Rabbit as a perverted version of these.
    • Rabbit declines the job. Eccles brings up Ruth. Rabbit wonders who ratted him out.
    • Rabbit denies knowledge of said person. Eccles now calls him a “mystic” and says he’s all about the ladies. Rabbit’s had about enough. Eccles apologizes and pleads depression.
    • Rabbit doesn’t know why, but this rubs Rabbit wrong. He’s getting confused and can barely thank Eccles for paying. Eccles “is known as a fag,” and Rabbit feels like his “new pet.”
    • Rabbit is feeling worse now. He isn’t playing well, though Eccles praises and instructs him, blaming Rabbit’s poor game on bad luck.
    • Rabbit apologizes and Eccles encourages him more.
    • Rabbit is about to pass out though, and says he has to lie down, but it doesn’t look like he actually does.
    • He starts hallucinating.
    • He hallucinates that the iron golf clubs are Janice.
    • Some dirt hits him and he thinks that it’s Golf Clubs Janice hitting him with it/herself.
    • His anger at her tears up his insides. He hallucinates that the wood golf clubs are Ruth.
    • He hits the ball, which has a grass stain for a mouth, with her. It runs away and hides in a bush. Rabbit walks over to get it only to find that the bush is his mother.
    • Eccles is still cheering him on, and coaching him. Rabbit is begging Janice to help him get the ball in the hole. Unfortunately Janice is too afraid of the ball to hit it properly.
    • Rabbit asks Eccles about her again.
    • Eccles tears himself away from the game and says Janice and the Fosnacht were giggling together and she seemed ok.
    • He warns Rabbit that Janice will probably be really happy living back home for a while.
    • He thinks that will be her way of showing Rabbit she can be happy without him, too.
    • Rabbit says she isn’t keen on her folks and probably married him to get out of their house.
    • Eccles tells Rabbit that he seems really deeply involved with Janice and that he can’t understand how Rabbit left her. Rabbit speaks of an absence.
    • Eccles asks if he’s seen this absence somewhere else.
    • Rabbit explodes that Eccles should know the answer to that.
    • Eccles tries to explain that “we want to serve God, not be God.” Rabbit claims to know what it is. Eccles presses him.
    • Rabbit realizes he wants Eccles to tell him what he’s been missing, to admit that this absence exists.
    • Then Eccles says Rabbit is “monstrously selfish” and a “coward,” and amoral.
    • Rabbit wants to be untangled from this situation.
    • Praying for rain, he ends the game, getting the ball in the hole.

  • Chapter 6

    • Time passes and we find Rabbit in Mrs. Smith’s “acres,” tending her lush beds from dawn to dusk, then bussing back to Brewer.
    • Two months have gone by, and the gardening has made it so he doesn’t have to cut his fingernails. He loves this life among nature – the simplicity, the solitude, and the interactions between himself, and nature, and his tools.
    • The rhododendron plantation part of the garden is in full splendor: a botanical equivalent to Rabbit’s zone. It’s near the end of May.
    • Of course, the different flowers in the garden remind Rabbit of women. Some he’s known, and some he imagines and would like to know.
    • Mrs. Smith comes out to witness this rhododendron peak. On Rabbit’s arms she goes among the flowers.
    • She holds on to him like a “vine” holds a “wall.” She is vulnerable, but has a pretty good hold. She is very old and making great effort; she is pretty cheerful too.
    • She tells Rabbit that she used to tease her late husband, Horace, about the rhododendrons.
    • She would say she preferred straightforward colors to the wishy-washy “salmon” of the “Rhody.” She says she said it to tease him, but that she meant it.
    • She would have preferred the acres had been used to grow alfalfa, or buckwheat – edible crops. She could give Horace the business like that because she was older than him.
    • She is surprised she outlived him. She does fancy one rhododendron of deep shining pink, the Bianchi. She gets a little wild and asks if the month is June.
    • He says: “Not quite. Memorial Day’s next Saturday.”
    • She talks about buying the Bianchi during the Depression, before the war.
    • She says he probably thinks she means the Korean War (1950-1953) when she says “the war.” He says he thinks “the war” is World War II.
    • She agrees, excited that Rabbit remembers it.
    • She says they lost a thirty-nine-year-old son to the war.
    • She says she hates war, but that World War II was worth winning, not like World War I.
    • She talks more about the Bianchi, but thinks she’s repeating herself and gets flustered.
    • She claims theirs is the only Bianchi in the U.S.
    • She starts moving faster. It’s getting late.
    • As they walk she says: “I appreciate the beauty but I’d rather see alfalfa.”
    • She doesn’t know why she can’t make peace with her surroundings.
    • She talks about being sarcastic with a woman who called the garden “heaven” year after year, admonishing herself and calling herself “an old sinner.”
    • She thinks it’s ironic that the woman, Alma Foster, is dead and knows the truth about heaven.
    • Rabbit speculates that Alma’s heaven is rhododendron, while Mrs. Smith’s will be alfalfa.
    • Mrs. Smith loves this and agrees wholeheartedly. Commonality is achieved!

  • Chapter 7

    • Ruth says to Rabbit: “You have it pretty good, don’t you?”
    • It’s now Memorial Day, Sunday afternoon, and they are sitting in the grass by a public pool in Brewer. Ruth had balked at displaying her body in a suit.
    • Yet, she was lovely, all fresh in her bathing cap.
    • She was a good swimmer and Rabbit wholly admired her.
    • When she floated on her stomach her “bottom” in the air looked like an island on TV to Rabbit.
    • A feeling of ownership had come over him, knowing her and her body like he does.
    • Watching her, he thinks he understands clean.
    • Clean is being in harmony with your surroundings – nothing missing, nothing that doesn’t belong. She belongs in the water.
    • He belongs in the grass (he only got wet, and then watched Ruth swim) and associates being wet with being cold. He prefers to let the “teenage girls” admire his fabulous back.
    • Ruth moves to get out of the pool (and the narrative switches back to the present tense – see the first lines of this chapter). She climbs out and joins Rabbit on the grass.
    • He admires her pubes. “You have it pretty good,” she tells him.
    • He wants to know how. She ticks off the reasons: Eccles and golf. Flowers and Mrs. Smith “in love” with him, and he has her.
    • Rabbit wants to know if it’s true about Mrs. Smith.
    • She says it is, according to him. He denies it and wants her to retract.
    • When she doesn’t respond he asks her again and pinches her.
    • Though he didn’t set out to pinch her so hard, that first touch of her flesh made him angry. She does not like this, and zones out on the sun.
    • He does not like her not paying attention to the sun instead of him and he thinks of her body as “dead.” He creepily eyes fourteen-year-old girls in bathing suits.
    • Now Ruth wants to know why he is so loved by the world. He says he’s “lovable.”
    • She wants to know what’s so special about him.
    • Quoting Eccles, though out of context, and without citation, he says, “I’m a saint. I give people faith.” Ruth says he gives her pain.
    • He’s mad that she’s being like this after he admired her so lovingly in the pool.
    • She thinks he isn’t doing his part. He says he “supports” her.
    • She reminds him she has a job as an insurance company stenographer.
    • He would prefer she quit it, jealous of what she might do. He thinks she might have enjoyed her days as a prostitute. He tells her he will support her.
    • She wants to know why he can’t support Janice. He says Janice’s father has plenty of lettuce.
    • She thinks he’s too “smug.” That he should be more worried about “the price” of leaving his family, and living well.
    • He is disturbed by her eyes, which are blue and rich and irritated from the swimming.
    • Her eyes sting also with tears and the narrative has switched over to Ruth’s perspective.
    • She thinks these too easy tears are signs. She ticks off the other signs: Crying at work. Too tired. Much hungrier than usual. Hmmm…
    • She doesn’t want to put on the weight she lost for Rabbit.
    • She thinks that he thinks he’s changing her in a very different way than he intends.
    • She is pulled by his “mildness” and pushed by his threat.
    • On the other hand, she likes that she is part of his life, not just mind candy.
    • Being with Rabbit, she “kind of forgave” the men she’d slept with for money, thinking it was “only half their fault.” Before Rabbit she was reaching for something.
    • With Rabbit she found it. She was never really hurt or scarred and so the men before Rabbit were like blurry old secrets. She has a generous attitude about sex.
    • The first time she gave a blowjob and/or had intercourse was with Ronnie Harrison, the guy Rabbit was afraid had sex with her, back when they first met at the Chinese joint.
    • She did then but doesn’t think the blowjob itself is a big deal, and that sperm tastes something like seawater.
    • Just that it is “harder work” than men “probably think it is.”
    • She feels that men don’t understand how hard women work.
    • She thinks of high school and high school boys: they were full of sexual shame.
    • They were grateful for sexual congress of any sort.
    • They liked to share their knowledge of where sexual congress might be procured.
    • “What did they think they were, monsters?”
    • She can’t believe they thought it impossible that any girl could feel just like they did.
    • She thinks that men and women are pretty much the same stuff.
    • Except that guys have “a stuck on looking bit that made them king.”
    • Relationships with men could be either nice or not.
    • She relishes a memory of choosing “the demerits” over having to wear the standard gym clothes, of standing outside the other high school girls.
    • She remembers “hating” some of those girls, ones with rich daddies.
    • She gloats a bit about having sex instead of money.
    • She reminisces about when sex was simple, when she they were learning.
    • She doesn’t like French kissing, but that’s not the point.
    • But sometimes it was enough to satisfy a guy and “keep your dress dry.”
    • She was notorious in school, in “a song.” She learned this from Allie, an understanding young lover. He broke it to her gently.
    • Yet he too told of their escapades. She didn’t hold a grudge, but learned something.
    • Then she moved on to older men.
    • Ruth gets tired when she wonders if she’d screwed up somewhere in her life.
    • She thinks how it was easy with older men – nothing intense because it was so easy.
    • She didn’t normally consider them for long term partners. Rabbit was the first of these.
    • Rabbit’s penis is uncircumcised.
    • His pubic hair is “fleece.” His penis is an “angel horn.”
    • She likes the sex, but it’s more than that. He’s sweet. He brought her bongo drums. When things are right, “She feels like next to nothing next to him.”
    • She thinks that’s what she was reaching for: “To feel like nothing with a man.”
    • She thinks of forgiving her customers again.
    • And about how she thought she was going in deep “to something better than she was.”
    • On the other hand, Rabbit is moody. He doesn’t “live by” sex like she thinks women do.
    • The sex isn’t as good now. She can’t sleep because she doesn’t come.
    • Sometimes she freaks out inside when they are having sex and want to tell him she is pregnant, angry that he doesn’t suspect. She wants to be sure before she tells him.
    • She’s only missed one period and is due for one anytime.
    • She kind of likes the idea of having a baby, a purpose.
    • She wonders if she wants the baby because Rabbit acts like he would.
    • She wonders if she did it to make him act, to show him that there are “consequences.”
    • She’s afraid he will leave her for Eccles when she tells him.
    • She’s angry that Eccles encourages Rabbit to believe he’s a Christ figure – that anything he does must be good for the world. She thinks this is bad for Rabbit.
    • Now Rabbit answers her question about paying for what you do:
    • “If you have the guts to be yourself, other people’ll pay your price.”

  • Chapter 8

    • When he’s doing it, he has the authority of God on his side, making people OK to deal with. He’s at the Springers’ now.
    • He thinks Mrs. Springer looks like a small, roundish gypsy.
    • He thinks Mrs. Springer and Janice “have a sinister aura.”
    • Mrs. Springer uses her ability to make people feel awkward like a tool, a tool that comes with being rooted in “middle-class life.”
    • With Janice the ability is not a tool, because it’s not connected to anything and can hurt her and those around her.
    • Eccles feels most guilty when around Janice and is glad she’s in Brewer with the Fosnacht woman watching Some Like it Hot. Eccles follows Mrs. Springer out to the back porch.
    • Through its screen, Nelson and young lord Fosnacht can be kept an eye on while the play in the backyard.
    • The Springer house must have cost a pretty penny to furnish, but it’s over-furnished.
    • Mrs. Springer’s ankles are bandaged and she walks stiffly with pain.
    • She sits on the porch swing, which seems a relief. She wears scuffy saddle shoes.
    • Eccles sits on a lawn chair.
    • He can see the kiddos near a “swing-slide-and-sandbox set,” like the one at Eccles’ house which he shamefully had to get “Angus, the old deaf sexton” to put together for him.
    • Mrs. Springer gives him a hard time for not coming sooner.
    • He says it’s only been three weeks. He talks about how busy he’s been.
    • The opulence of the Springer house makes him uncomfortable.
    • Mrs. Springer says he has a rough job, and he says he pretty much likes it.
    • Then she says that’s what she’s heard and gives him a hard time about golf with Rabbit.
    • He’s thinking: oh man, here it comes, I should have known, and then he starts thinking of Rabbit. How appealing he must have been to Janice.
    • He says he’s playing golf with Rabbit to get to know him, so he can help him find Jesus.
    • Mrs. Springer wants to know what he knows about Rabbit.
    • Eccles says “he’s a good man.” “Good for what?” she wants to know.
    • He wants to know if people have to be “good for something,” then decides that people should.
    • Mrs. Springer is yelling at Nelson to stop crying, but not checking to see why he is.
    • Eccles sees that the not-bright-looking Fosnacht kid has jacked the smaller kid’s truck and is threatening to pop him in the chest with both trucks.
    • Mrs. Springer yells some more.
    • Nelson says: “Pilly have – Pilly,” which sounds like he wants her to have pity but really means Billy has his truck. Then he smacks Billy.
    • Billy pushes him and he falls down. He tells Mrs. Springer about the truck theft.
    • She wants to let them work out their own problems.
    • Eccles makes Billy give the truck back. He gives it back by dropping it on Nelson’s head.
    • Nelson cries more.
    • His grandmother tells Eccles he’s a sissy, because he’s like Rabbit, thinking he should get whatever he wants. Eccles defends Nelson.
    • Mrs. Springer accuses him of blaming the whole mess on only Janice.
    • He says there is no excuse for what Rabbit did, but that Janice had her roll in it, too.
    • She thinks that’s an unrealistic position.
    • Janice is not only about to go into labor, but is the town joke, what with Rabbit shacked up and doing fine.
    • Talking shrilly about the unfairness of a woman’s position in these situations, her eyes well up, but she doesn’t cry. Her words are like little knives on Eccles’ face.
    • The thought of the townspeople enjoying the spectacle of Rabbit and Janice “has surrounded him with a dreadful reality.”
    • He compares it to giving a Sunday sermon, and doubts his words have any meaning.
    • He tells her “Harry is in some ways a special case.”
    • She says Rabbit has no conscience and that she should have called the cops on him.
    • Eccles thinks for a second that she means she wants Eccles arrested.
    • He thinks he deserves it. He thinks that his preaching, the words, are crimes against children.
    • He thinks he’s a big fake when he says “Our Father” when his heart knows the real father he has been trying to please all his life, the God who smokes cigars.
    • Eccles tells her he thinks Rabbit will go back to Janice. Mrs. Springer doesn’t buy that.
    • At her request, Eccles brings her a chair to put her feet on.
    • She thanks him, and he says that’s the only thing he’s been able to do for her.
    • He likes that he said that, but “mocks” the fact that he likes it.
    • She doesn’t know what “anybody can do.”
    • He brings up cops and lawyers. She says her husband doesn’t want that.
    • Eccles says the only thing the law can do is make Rabbit give money, and that money isn’t the point. Mrs. Springer disagrees.
    • Eccles says that it’s really about “the general health of the situation,” and that it’s ultimately up to Rabbit and Janice how things turn out.
    • He watches Nelson, now the leader, and Billy go to the neighbor’s dog.
    • Nelson hits it. Eccles is afraid he will get bit.
    • Mrs. Springer says Rabbit needs to be motivated to come back.
    • Eccles says he senses trouble between Rabbit and Ruth, that Ruth is a passing fancy and Janice is who he really wants. The dog is chasing the kids.
    • Mrs. Springer is mad. Eccles goes to Nelson and asks if he got bit.
    • Nelson imitates a dog snapping, then gets scared and goes to his grandmother.
    • He is moved when he finds Nelson with his face on his grandmother’s stomach.
    • He tells them that the cops should be called on Rabbit if he doesn’t return upon the birth of his new child. Mrs. Springer is explaining that Elsie the dog doesn’t like being teased.
    • Nelson says the dog is “naughty.” She says he’s the one who’s “naughty.”
    • She threatens corporal punishment if he continues harassing Elsie.
    • He protests, but is no longer scared.
    • Eccles is still thirsty but doesn’t want to be there anymore so he leaves.
    • He goes to 303 Jackson, the Angstroms’. Mrs. Springer is washing clothes in the sink when he gets there. He’s still thirsty but can’t quite ask for a drink.
    • She says she can’t tell Rabbit what to do. Eccles wants to know if she’s talked to him.
    • She thinks Rabbit is too “embarrassed” because Eccles makes him “ashamed.”
    • Eccles thinks he should be.
    • Mrs. Springer disagrees and says Janice has always been near nuts, and that she never wanted her for a daughter-in-law, and then complains about her.
    • While she is talking, “Eccles realizes she is a humorist.” He says Janice is just “shy.”
    • She complains “Hassy” had to marry her when she got pregnant and thinks Janice doesn’t deserve everyone’s pity.
    • In response to Eccles’ question, Mrs. Springer says Mr. Springer wants Rabbit to go back to Janice.
    • She says that she hears in church that “men are all heart and women all body,” and Eccles decides to visit their Lutheran pastor. She feels like Rabbit is getting a hard time over this. Then Mr. Angstrom arrives.
    • This business with Rabbit and Janice has really hit him hard; he feels very bad for Janice, and wonders how such disorder could have been caused by Rabbit, with his love of order.
    • Mrs. Angstrom says Rabbit changed after the Army. Mr. Eccles says he didn’t want to work with him.
    • Finally, Mrs. Angstrom offers him coffee. He asks for water instead.
    • The Angstroms talk about Rabbit’s determination as a young man, as a basketball player.
    • Eccles says he sees it when they play golf. Earl Angstrom wants to kick his son’s butt.
    • Eccles talks about how much he likes Rabbit.
    • Angstrom says he thinks Rabbit needs an butt kicking and the cops, not golf.
    • He declares Rabbit his enemy. Mrs. Angstrom thinks Rabbit will go back to her, but Angstrom doesn’t. Mrs. Angstrom is crying.
    • Eccles says he hopes Rabbit does go back, and then tries to leave.
    • On his way out Mr. Angstrom introduces Eccles to Rabbit's sister, Mim.
    • She looks like her dad.
    • He thinks that they have a solidity to them, that they are in control of themselves.
    • He ponders what he considers his “weakness,” a preference for people who are lost in life. Back in the Buick he thinks how nobody he talked to today believed in Rabbit.
    • He drives across town to the home of the Lutheran minister Fritz Kruppenbach, who’s been the minister her for twenty-seven years.
    • Kruppenbach’s wife lets Eccles in and the place reeks of cooking beef.
    • He waits for Kruppenbach in the study. He wishes he was playing golf with Rabbit.
    • Rabbit is his ideal golf partner: “both better and worse than he.”
    • Eccles also wants to beat Rabbit; he thinks this will somehow solve Rabbit’s problems.
    • Kruppenbach is irritated to be called away from mowing his lawn.
    • Eccles says he wants to talk about the Angstroms. He confirms that Earl Angstrom is a printer.
    • Kruppenbach calls Rabbit a Schussel (a German word that means, roughly, scatterbrain), which Eccles doesn’t understand.
    • Eccles starts telling Rabbit the whole story and about his plan to save Rabbit.
    • Kruppenbach stops him and tells him it’s none of his beeswax, and that he should butt out.
    • Eccles protests but Kruppenbach silences him, saying Eccles has only been here two years to his twenty-seven.
    • He thinks that Eccles has sold out to gossip, that God doesn’t care about these petty matters.
    • He thinks that there are people with worse problems, like starvation.
    • That Eccles is acting like a cop and he should stop.
    • He says the only thing Eccles should be doing is making himself an “exemplar of faith.”
    • That he should fill up on Christ and give that to the people for comfort.
    • Then Mrs. Kruppenbach calls him to dinner. He wants Eccles to pray but Eccles is too mad, and tells him so. He leaves, his head full of bad thoughts about Kruppenbach.
    • He is depressed and makes himself more so by telling himself that Kruppenbach is right.
    • Feeling like a failure, he doesn’t go home, but to the “drugstore in the center of town.”
    • He feels like the drugstore has the products that really help people.
    • “Eccles feels most at home in Godless public places.”
    • He orders an ice cream soda, and drinks two glasses of water while he waits for it.

  • Chapter 9

    • 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.

  • Chapter 10

    • Meanwhile, around 8:00 p.m., Mrs. Springer calls Lucy Eccles looking for Jack.
    • Lucy then calls around everywhere for him.
    • Joyce hears all the dialing and comes down twice and is sent back to bed.
    • When Joyce doesn’t come back down, Lucy feels bad, like she banished the only person in her corner. She doesn’t like being a minister’s wife just then, after 10 p.m.
    • She is embarrassed. She remembers that she was drawn to Jack because he was happy and fun. Other people get all his fun now.
    • “She hates” all those religious people, and wishes for communism to come and sweep religion away.
    • She thinks things might be better if religion had vanished “a hundred years ago.”
    • The she thinks maybe “our weakness needs” religion. Jack comes home just before eleven.
    • He’d been at the drugstore all that time, having fun talking to kids about sex and Jesus.
    • He can see she is past mad.
    • She gives him the message from the Springers.
    • He doesn’t stop to console her but runs, excited that the moment he’s been waiting for has come, and makes a phone call.
    • He prays to God he’ll get an answer, but he isn’t happy with the prayer because he can’t make phones and God seem connected.
    • Yay. An answer. It’s a man. He thinks it isn’t Rabbit, so he asks for him.
    • After Eccles identifies himself, Rabbit says: “Hi.”
    • Rabbit was sleeping, or, er, something.
    • Eccles tells him Janice is in labor and feels like all of his work as a minister is being judged by whether Rabbit goes to her or not. He says he will go.
    • Rabbit declines a ride and says he will walk. Eccles expresses his pride for Rabbit.

  • Chapter 11

    • Rabbit feels like Eccles has freed him from underground hibernation.
    • He gets dressed and tries to communicate with Ruth.
    • He thinks she isn’t sleeping and he tries again.
    • He tries again to tell her he’s going to see Janice and the baby.
    • When she doesn’t move, he’s afraid he somehow killed her. (It’s not clear whether he means because of the blowjob, or because of going to Janice.)
    • He tries again and, when she doesn’t answer, he threatens not to return if she doesn’t answer this time. She does not.
    • He knows he could wake her if he touched her, but “he doesn’t like being manipulated and grows angry.”
  • Chapter 12

    • The “seawater” in Ruth’s mouth after Rabbit leaves is overpowered by her sadness and she starts to cry.
    • She feels like when she was a teenager and believed that being thinner would fix everything.
    • She knows why she really wants Rabbit to be with her. He makes her feel beautiful.
    • She didn’t answer because she never doubted that Janice “would win.”
    • She gets nauseous, goes to the bathroom and rests her head on the toilet.
    • She hasn’t the strength to throw up, but it feels good there.
    • She realizes that the child inside her, making her nauseous, might be her “friend.”

  • Chapter 13

    • Meanwhile, Rabbit is running, uphill to the hospital.
    • He is flooded with information as he runs, from all the signs and buildings and nature. Music.
    • He feels the world through his feet.
    • In the ’hood, he gets paranoid and “runs harder,” through urbania.
    • Rabbit arrives at St. Joseph and prays to the moon to: Make it be all right, before going in.
    • He asks the nun (a real nun) at the desk for Janice and is sent to the waiting room.
    • He is surprised the nun doesn’t admonish him for not being here sooner.
    • That to her he’s just another father.
    • He thinks for a moment that the hospital might be a jail and the other two men, who are together, are the cops that popped him.
    • Rabbit sits down and reads Reader’s Digest, an article about religious conflict, whilst the two men talk low to each other, with hand wringing and urgency. In comes Eccles, with a haircut, looking tired. Rabbit want to know if Janice knows he’s there.
    • Eccles says he’ll get the information to her, “if she’s still conscious.”
    • Then Eccles flirts with Sister Bernard at the counter.
    • Then he gives Rabbit a cigarette. It makes Rabbit woozy, and he has to sit down.
    • Eccles sits, too. They don’t communicate well unless playing golf.
    • So Rabbit reads The Saturday Evening Post, an article about cheap, family camping.
    • Rabbit can’t focus. The words look like a possibly unconscious Janice having the baby.
    • He smells the hospital smells, all the dirtiness of human existence.
    • He is sure that his sin will be punished with the death of either Janice or the baby.
    • He feel like his sin is inside him, a little ball, and he feels the urge to excrete it.
    • This doesn’t make him talk to Eccles. Then he reads about the cheap family campers eating fish. He sees Eccles as right on the brink of his “fear,” something outside of Rabbit’s perception of what is real.
    • He seems to be freaking out – like he’s run all this way and he’s still late.
    • He asks about the Springers and Eccles goes to find out where they are, but Rabbit stops him, annoyed by his moving about. Eccles is jittery.
    • They pass the hour of midnight.
    • Rabbit is listening and he becomes convinced the child will be a monster.
    • Then he gets that idea wrapped up in his memory of making Ruth give him a blowjob.
    • He feels like what sounds to us like a piece of art, a still figure in a variety of poses.
    • Or a performance, but with an absence of “belief.”
    • He thinks: There is no God. Janice can die.
    • He feels like he’s swimming in the sperm he’s “spat into the mild bodies of women.”
    • He thinks of his first lover, Mary Ann. And about how he was mad when she got married, but now the thought of her makes her happy. (He’s found his happy place!)
    • Eccles starts telling him about and article on “why Jackie Jenson wants to quit baseball,” shaking Rabbit from his reverie. Now he’s comparing baseball and the ministry.
    • Rabbits suggests Eccles leave. It’s about 2 a.m.
    • Eccles wants to stay and Rabbit tells him he promises to stay too.
    • Eccles finds this funny. While they discuss labor lengths, Mrs. Springer comes in from the VIP room. Then Mr. Springer emerges and greets Rabbit.
    • Then Mrs. Springer accuses him of being a buzzard. She says Janice will live and doesn’t need Rabbit. Mr. Springer and Eccles move her off.
    • Rabbit is stung, but he appreciates Mrs. Eccles stating outright how big a deal giving birth is. That she voiced the possibility of Janice’s death allowed Rabbit to share the burden with her. He feels intimately connected with her, through their connection to Janice.
    • The Springers pass back through. Eccles gives Rabbit another cigarette.
    • Dr. Crowe comes out and announces that a baby girl was born(!)
    • Rabbit is excited. Everything went fine and the baby weighs “six pounds ten ounces”
    • Janice was awake throughout. Rabbit is surprised Dr. Crowe isn’t mad at him.
    • Rabbit asks permission to see Janice, and the Dr. Crowe seems surprised that Rabbit is asking for permission. Rabbit thinks the doctor doesn’t realize just how awful he (Rabbit) is.
    • He tells Rabbit that Janice has had a tranquilizer and then defers to Rabbit as to whether or not Mrs. Springer could go first. Rabbit lets her go ahead.
    • Eccles has exuberance written all over his face.
    • Rabbit isn’t seeing him, but rather focusing on the sense of fullness he’s acquired.
    • He goes in to see Janice and she hugs him a little too tightly.
    • She’s giddy from anesthesia and can’t feel her legs. Rabbit checks and she does.
    • She says she had an epidural.
    • She says she told Mrs. Springer that the baby made a “cross” face and looked like Rabbit.
    • Rabbit tells her about Mrs. Springer giving him a hard time. She says she didn’t want her mother. She wanted Rabbit. He doesn’t understand why.
    • Janice says she felt like she was giving birth to Rabbit.
    • They are nice to each other and Janice asks Rabbit if he wanted a girl and he realizes he did. He asks about Nelson, and Janice in a friendly way says Nelson won’t stop asking for him.
    • Rabbit is surprised to find himself crying, and he says: “I can’t believe it was me. I can’t believe I left.”
    • Janice is talking very sexy and then a nun comes and tells them visiting hours are over.
    • Janice giggles more about the baby looking cross. She wants Rabbit to stay.
    • He’s say he will soon return. They say I love you.
    • Eccles is waiting for Rabbit and wants to know if he’s going back to Ruth. Rabbit says he can’t. Eccles offers to put Rabbit up for the night, and he reluctantly agrees.
    • He sleeps deep inside himself.

  • Chapter 14

    • Lucy Eccles wakes Rabbit up.
    • It’s almost 12:30 in the afternoon, and Eccles asked to make sure Rabbit knows visiting hours end at 3:00 p.m. Rabbit’s not pleased to put on his dirty clothes.
    • He goes to the kitchen. He thinks Lucy looks away because he’s in just an undershirt.
    • He drinks orange juice and agrees to eat Cheerios. He asks about Freud.
    • She says her daughter is napping because they were up all morning wanting to see Rabbit, “the naughty man.” He wants to know why they thought he was naughty.
    • She says Eccles told them that, but that he wasn’t going to be naughty anymore.
    • Eccles’ family knows the people he is trying to help and has nicknames for all of them.
    • Rabbit’s is “the naughty man.”
    • Rabbit laughs as she tells him about someone with the nickname “Happy Beans.”
    • She puts too much milk in his cereal, not like Ruth, who lets him pour his own.
    • She says Eccles is so happy about Rabbit’s reform, as if it’s something he did.
    • Rabbit doesn’t understand this. Neither does Lucy, but she knows the situation burdened Eccles. She wants to know why Jack likes him. He says he’s “loveable.”
    • They banter. Rabbit thinks, “She is a naughty girl.”
    • She asks how his transformation feels – to prepare her, in case she ever does “reform” like Eccles wants. He says he doesn’t feel very different.
    • She says he seems different. He’s irritated that she says it, but knows it’s true.
    • He feels like it matters that he is on this particular path now. He realizes that Lucy wants him. He thinks lovingly of Janice’s sweetness in the hospital.
    • He wants to know how far the bus stop is, and she apologizes that she can’t drive him.
    • Joyce comes down. She wants to know if Rabbit’s chest is his “boo-zim.”
    • Lucy tells her that she already told her men don’t have bosoms.
    • He puts on his shirt and thanks her, not wanting to go, wishing she would give him a ride, and really wanting to be in a car with her.
    • He looks at her breasts and then at her face and she gives him the wink.
    • His chest feels funny when he leaves.

  • Chapter 15

    • 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: “S***.” 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.

  • Chapter 16

    • Luckily, Janice’s dad kept the rent paid and Rabbit and Nelson are having fun together cleaning up. Rabbit is good with appliances and good at cleaning.
    • Nelson, almost three, helps.
    • Rabbit looks at the view from his place, sees a tenement building that was built higher than the apartment. He thinks that all tall things are dwarfed by the mountain.
    • Wilbur Street is actually really not far from the woods.
    • In the other direction, Rabbit admires the valley and thinks of it as his.
    • Everything inside his apartment, the mess and cramp, matches up in his mind with a memory. Nelson knows where all his stuff is.
    • He shows Rabbit a duck Janice’s mother had given him.
    • He asks if Rabbit has been “at the hospital” like Janice, who he knows will be out on Friday.
    • Rabbit says he hasn’t been at the hospital, that he’s been “away” and Nelson marvels at the word. Nelson says “long” and spreads his arms to demonstrate.
    • Rabbit reassures him of his presence. They visit Mrs. Smith so Rabbit can resign.
    • He’s decided to sell used cars for Mr. Springer.
    • He introduces Mrs. Springer and Nelson and, while she looks for candy, Rabbit looks at her paintings.
    • He focuses on what must be a painting of the Greek myth where Leda is raped by Zeus in his swan form. Then he focuses on a lifelike painting of a woman with a cross expression.
    • Mrs. Smith comes in and complains about the painting that she sat for when she was young. She thinks it makes her look cross. She lets Nelson choose a candy.
    • Rabbit tries to influence his choice, but she doesn’t let him. He brings up the resignation, explains why.
    • She understands and tells him: “It’s been a religious duty to me, taking care of Horace’s garden.” She says she won’t live to see next year’s rhododendrons.
    • She says Rabbit kept her alive. She says this very sincerely, not like to make him feel guilty for leaving. She tells him: “You have a proud son; take care.”
    • He wants to reciprocate her deep feeling.
    • He thinks she’s means him to be proud of and take care of Nelson. They all say goodbye.
    • The next week he and Nelson have good times walking and they watch old men play softball at the high school.
    • The spectators are young boys and Rabbit remembers that age.
    • They go to the playground and Rabbit tries to help Nelson overcome his fear of swings.
    • Rabbit thinks he’s left an indefinite (at least to us) something behind now forever, whether he likes it or not. He feels that the act of having children makes life less full and provokes both inner and outer decay.
    • Nelson and Rabbit go to Mrs. Springer’s.
    • “Nelson loves her, and this makes Rabbit like her.”
    • He doesn’t take the bait she persistently offers.
    • He admits all his shortcomings. She doesn’t bother him the way his parents do.
    • They hang out and she disses the Fosnacht’s son, then mother.
    • He appreciates what Peggy Fosnacht did for Janice, but doesn’t argue because he likes talking to her this way.
    • He gets sleepy talking to her, unable to properly rest at night. It wasn’t so nice when they visited his mother:
    • Rabbit is going on about how wonderful the Springers are and everything they have done.
    • His mother surprises him by asking what will happen to “poor” Ruth.
    • He says she can manage on her own, but feels like that’s not really true.
    • She says she won’t say more, and Rabbit thinks the cold way she treats Nelson holds a message. Nelson seems scared.
    • Rabbit can’t believe she’s using Nelson like this. He even “stops liking” her for it.
    • He doesn’t understand why she isn’t proud of him.
    • The awkwardness continues when Mr. Angstrom comes in.
    • Things get ugly when Angstrom asks his grandson if he wants to play ball when he grows up. Mrs. Angstrom says his little Springer hands won’t let him.
    • This makes Rabbit “like the kid less” and “hate” Mrs. Angstrom for making him feel that way. He wants to leave before he hates her completely.
    • He asks about his sister. Apparently, she isn’t around much.
    • Rabbit is bummed out when they leave.
    • Rabbit is fine unless Nelson is asleep. He has nothing to do and gets scared.
    • He fools around the apartment.
    • He can’t sleep, thinking of his last moments with Ruth, and connecting that to his mother being mean and not saying what she’s thinking.
    • He thinks of Harrison and Margaret and Tothero. He is afraid to think of Tothero and Ruth. And he’s really afraid of Janice coming home.
    • He thinks of Lucy Eccles and masturbates to his fantasy of her.
    • He still doesn’t really fall asleep, he thinks of Lucy more. Then he drifts to the couple in West Virginia and thinks he should have gone the way they were going and, then, thinks that somehow he is going with them.
    • Before it’s light, he wakes up “with the fear that Nelson has died.”
    • The approaching dawn casts shadows on his bed that look like a spider’s web and he only catches a few winks before Nelson gets up. Janice and Rebecca come home as scheduled.
    • Rabbit is blissed out on the baby’s presence.
    • He is full of admiration for Janice’s overflowing breasts and he and Nelson both want to be a part of the nursing process. Nelson has to be told no, but Rabbit is satisfied watching.
    • Janice is still bashful about her body, but not nearly as much as before. She seems at home with her body as a “pliant machine for f***ing, feeding, and hatching.”
    • Rabbit knows she’s in pain still but wants to make love. Her stance in sleep tells him no, and he lovingly holds back.
    • Eccles wants them to go to his church on Sunday. Janice is too tired, home from the hospital nine days now. With Rabbit now working, she is exhausted and down.
    • Rabbit is pleased to go. He wants to express gratitude for his newfound gifts.
    • He is also happy to be someone who goes to church.
    • He’s also happy to go where he won’t see any Springers for a few minutes. (We wonder why he assumes Mr. and Mrs. Springer won’t be at their own church.)
    • He thinks his car salesman job is OK, though he worries about the lies he tells to sell the used cars, and plans to “ask forgiveness.”
    • He “hates” the people he sees not dressed for church, sees them as signs that say the earth is right on top of hell.
    • He “loves” the ones that are in church clothes – they match up with “the beauty of belief” that he is full of now.
    • Rabbit is full of gratitude that things turned out like they have.
    • When he gets to church he kneels and thanks both God and his daughter.
    • Then he sees an attractive woman from the back.
    • The peach fuzz on her neck makes him think of Tothero telling him women are hairy, and he “says a quick prayer” that Tothero is still alive.
    • He keeps admiring the woman and wants to see her face.
    • When she turns around, it’s (surprise!) Joyce Eccles, so close he could touch her.
    • Rabbit doesn’t really like “the Episcopal service.” The church itself is uncomfortable.
    • He remembers the comfort of his own Lutheran church.
    • He is not held rapt by Eccles’s sermon, which is about when Jesus and the Devil talked for forty days “in the Wilderness.” Eccles argues that this “story” is still applicable today, that we too need to keep the Devil talking, so we know what he’s up to.
    • Eccles also stresses that difficulties of all kind are necessary for learning and going through life.
    • Rabbit thinks Eccles is no good up there, that “In his robes he seems a sinister man-woman.”
    • Rabbit turns his attention to the lovely Lucy Eccles, who won’t turn around to look at him, but who he thinks is sending back some lust vibes. He says hello to her after the sermon.
    • She expresses surprise at his presence. He ends up walking Lucy and Joyce home.
    • They talk about how Eccles and Rabbit are similar.
    • He holds back from telling her how he feels about her, because something stops him from acting on his feelings.
    • Lucy says she notices the ways they are not similar, like that Eccles is uncomfortable with women and Rabbit is not.
    • She blames Eccles’ discomfort on Christian neurosis.
    • When they get to her place, Rabbit declines her offer to come in.
    • Actually, he says, “You’re a doll, but I got this wife now.”
    • She isn’t pleased and walks up to the front door.
    • He feels bad that she doesn’t like him anymore, so he calls after her, “But thanks, anyway.” She bangs the door shut with the force of anger.
    • He ponders her anger as he walks home, but he feels good about himself.
    • The encounter stimulated him though, and he’s sexually excited when he gets home.
  • Chapter 17

    • The first line here is too beautiful and sad not to quote: “His wish to make love to Janice is like a small angel to which all afternoon tiny lead weights are attached.”
    • Whew. In any case, the baby has been upset and crying since he got home.
    • No one understands what little Rebecca wants or knows how to comfort her.
    • Rabbit really wants to make love to Janice, specifically to Janice, because he wants to share with her the extreme happiness inside himself.
    • The baby’s constant crying won’t let that happen. Everyone is terrified.
    • Nelson is agitated too, of course. Becky can only be quiet for moments.
    • Rabbit is freaking out, saying, “Oh my God” and “Son of a b****.”
    • Around five, Janice is in tears. The baby has been constantly nursing, drank all of Janice’s milk, and is still not satisfied. Rabbit asks her if she wants a drink.
    • Apparently he’s been asking her all afternoon, and chain smoking.
    • He tells her he thought it might loosen her up. She says it’s him and asks what’s up.
    • He doesn’t understand why the well has run dry (in contrast to her abundant flow when she came home that Friday, nine days ago.)
    • Janice explains that the child simply drank it all. Rabbit asks her again if she wants a drink. She suggests he have one, that Rebecca only became irritated when Rabbit got home. Nelson wants to know why Becky is crying.
    • Janice says it’s the heat. The baby’s ceaseless crying feels like a warning.
    • It’s a beautiful afternoon and Rabbit has an attack of fear; he’s afraid they are not living properly when he remembers childhood walks with his family.
    • A walk seems like a good idea to us too, but it’s too chaotic and they are too confused. They can’t coordinate it, and furthermore, neither Nelson nor Rabbit want to be away from Janice and so they all cling to her. She is squeezed in and needs some space.
    • She urges Rabbit to go do something, saying he’s aggravating the baby with his behavior.
    • He suggests she have a drink.
    • She doesn’t want one – just wants him to stop with the chain smoking, and the clinging.
    • She says, “I think I need to be back at the hospital.”
    • Rabbit asks if she is in pain “down there.”
    • She says the crying is making it hurt.
    • She’s explaining that, on top of all this, she has to make dinner.
    • She wants to know what got into him at church.
    • He keeps trying to be love-y, and she wants him to stop.
    • She says: “I’m not loveable right now.” It’s late when they eat; Becky is still crying.
    • Finally she stops, leaving a feeling of guilt and failure in the apartment.
    • Janice wonders if her milk has stopped. Rabbit doubts it, as she has “been like footballs.”
    • She tells him he can’t “play,” but is smiling somewhere in there.
    • Nelson goes to bed discontented, sucking his bottle.
    • Rabbit feels deeply for his son, and puts his hand warmly on his forehead.
    • It’s too late for that though, and Nelson is irritated by the gesture.
    • Janice agrees to a drink.
    • He gives her “half whiskey and half water” which she says isn’t yummy, but drinks anyway.
    • When they are in bed he imagines the drink will make her more responsive.
    • They are face to face on their sides.
    • Rabbit is making his moves, and Janice is not resisting but not demonstrative either.
    • He’s tries to cool his impatience, to remember how to take it slow.
    • “He dares undo the two buttons of her nightie front,” and he admires her breasts.
    • She seems to be letting him, and he’s getting comfortable and feeling good about himself.
    • When he sees her shaved pubis, and thinks of her just having had a baby, “it makes his confidence delicate.”
    • It wipes him out when says: “Harry. Don’t you know I want to go to sleep?”
    • He asks why she didn’t stop him sooner.
    • She says she thought he was just trying to make her feel good, and that she thought he understood she couldn’t have sex. He says she can.
    • She explains that not only doesn’t she feel well, but that the doctor ordered six weeks of abstinence. He’s mortified.
    • He explains, “I thought you might love me anyway.”
    • She says she does “love” him. He asks to keep touching her.
    • She says he should try to sleep. He wants her to just let him finish, he can’t contain what he feels, though he’s feeling less excited by the minute.
    • She says she feels taken advantage of and rotten. He begs. She says, “I feel so cheap.”
    • This makes him angry. He thinks that her three-month abstinence has made her think of sex as larger than it is. At this point he just wants relief so he can sleep and leave her alone. He tells her to “roll over.”
    • She does, thinking he’s letting her go, telling him she loves him.
    • He tries to come by rubbing his penis between her buttocks.
    • She gets mad and asks: “Is this a trick your whore taught you?” He hits her shoulder with his closed hand and gets up. They argue about it. He says he’s leaving. She protests.
    • She asks him to try to put himself in her shoes.
    • He says he is capable of it, but right now is only interested in his own feelings and he wants to leave. Upset, she gets back in bed, face down in the pillow.
    • He thinks this act means she has “accepted defeat,” and that he would still have stayed if she hadn’t done that. He doesn’t want sex any more, so he wouldn’t have minded staying and sleeping with her, but she makes him mad crying in bed.

  • Chapter 18

    • Finally we get Janice’s perspective.
    • She’s used to being in bed alone, and is able to sleep without his hot body in bed with her. But she’s in pain because Rabbit irritated the stitches from her episiotomy.
    • About 4 a.m. she’s woken by the baby crying.
    • The baby isn’t nursing well, and Janice is hoping Rabbit will show up.
    • She worries about her mother’s neighbors laughing at her – her mother was constantly talking about that when Janice was there. She thought marriage would give her power over her own life. She thought that when she named the baby after her mother it would stop her from feeling like a failure in her mother’s eyes. Instead it made her feel like she was nursing her mother. She paces, rocking the baby, one breast empty, the other full.
    • She thinks of Rabbit trying to have sex with her.
    • She thinks she would let him if he came home now, but when he tried earlier it was too humiliating, that it was an insult, his thinking that it didn’t matter that he’d been having sex with “that prostitute.”
    • Her thoughts are becoming muddled, but it sounds like she had sex with someone else when Rabbit was away, mostly because he would not have imagined her capable.
    • His movements on “her backside” made her think of him with the other woman, and how helpless his doing that had left her feeling, how the town was either pitying her or mocking her.
    • She thinks of how he was so excited coming back from church, and wonders if he was thinking about something that had happened there when he was touching her.
    • That’s what made her stop him. She could feel him stop thinking about her; he stopped touching her delicately and with sensitivity.
    • She thinks he is the one who is “dumb,” because he can’t fathom what his leaving did to her, nor that she was in pain and exhausted.
    • She remembers that she was afraid to tell Rabbit she might be pregnant, before they were married.
    • She remembers how wonderful she felt when he was actually excited about it, and wanted to get married. She thinks about how wonderful he can sometimes be.
    • But it didn’t really change her low self-esteem, which clashed terribly with his high self-esteem. Drinking muted her loneliness and gave color to the edges of her life.
    • The baby has fallen asleep and she considers giving her the full breast, but doesn’t want to wake her. She puts Rebecca in her crib, and then tries to sleep as the sky lightens.
    • At first being awake is nice, like being awake early in the morning at her mother’s when she’d decided she could be happy without or with Rabbit.
    • If he didn’t return she would raise her child and be celibate.
    • If he did she wouldn’t be mad about his leaving, would quit the booze for him, and he’d be happy having sown his wild oats.
    • She’d learned from Eccles and her friend Peggy that being married was about mutual connection and since he’d come back, until yesterday, she’d felt like it was working.
    • But Rabbit spoiled it by treating her like his prostitute.
    • Thinking of the injustice of the turn of events makes the tears start – she can’t get over him saying: Roll over. She thinks a drink might help her sleep. She prays to Rabbit to come back. The shot makes her feel better, and the town looks pretty from her window.
    • She gets mad thinking about Rabbit and has another drink, thinking it will be fun.
    • She is physically uncomfortable and disgusted by her apartment.
    • Her milk has leaked onto her nightgown and dried, and she remembers being taught to keep her breast clean while breastfeeding, so she takes off her nightgown, and admires her legs.
    • She accidentally spills what’s left in her glass, and decides to try walking around naked, “like a whore,” but gets shy and puts on a robe.
    • She has another drink and is tired but doesn’t want to sleep in the bed that Rabbit is missing from.
    • She feels like someone else is in the house with her and she tries to hide from the feeling by turning on the TV.
    • No shows are on yet and, when she turns it off, the tears come again, and she wishes someone would hear her and be with her.
    • She picks up Rebecca to nurse her, and thinks Rabbit has come home when a neighbor’s door slams.
    • The door wakes Nelson and she gives him cereal and he asks if Rabbit left.
    • She thinks he’s sweet for asking, but can’t admit it to him, and not telling her son the truth makes her want to drink more.
    • She’s scared and drunk and confused, and she thinks that somehow the lie let in a “ghost.”
    • She doesn’t change the baby’s diaper because she’s afraid she’s too drunk to handle the diaper pins and might hurt the baby.
    • She watches TV with Nelson while the baby sleeps, has another drink, and believes Rabbit will come back soon.
    • She and Nelson have fun coloring, until she sees she’s gone outside the lines and, to Nelson’s dismay, can’t stop the tears.
    • Instead of hugging her, Nelson runs to his room.
    • She thinks Rabbit will surely be back at the end of the day, and that drinking will help her keep anyone from finding out he left.
    • Then her dad calls asking why Rabbit isn’t at work.
    • She makes up a story about Rabbit going somewhere to sell a car to someone, which her father doesn’t really believe.
    • She has another drink and starts cooking lunch, still feeling like someone else is there with them.
    • Nelson complains about the food, and is asking about Rabbit. He won’t eat properly and she ends up slapping him.
    • She feels he’s bullying her and sends him to bed, proud of her control.
    • Then her mother calls and accuses Janice of making Rabbit leave again, and being really mean. She says she’s coming over even though Janice begs her not to.
    • When Janice realizes how messed up the place is she tries to clean but is in too much physical pain.
    • Becky starts up again and, when Janice goes to the crib, she finds baby poop all over it, which makes her furious at the baby, who she puts on a big chair.
    • Still drinking, confused, and in pain, she runs a bath for the baby, and tries to clean up the mess, and hide the booze.
    • The tub is almost full and she wishes she could get in it but instead brings Rebecca to the tub. She’s very confused and the baby sinks and is slippery to grasp, but Janice eventually gets her out of the tub, and is relieved.
    • Janice feels even more strongly that someone she can’t see is in the apartment, and as she hears banging on her door, she knows that Rebecca is dead.
  • Chapter 19

    • Jack tells Lucy that Mrs. Springer has called and told him about the baby’s death, and that he needs to look for Rabbit, who he loves.
    • They argue about his involvement with Rabbit and she claims that, if Eccles hadn’t meddled, this wouldn’t have happened.
    • He takes this to mean that she thinks he’s responsible for the baby’s death.
    • She apologizes, but he agrees with her.
    • She asks what motivated him, and he claims it was a belief that all marriages, even awful ones, are sacred.
    • They argue and he thinks of calling Ruth, but Rabbit calls from a pharmacy in Brewer, because he couldn’t reach Janice by phone, and Eccles breaks the news to him.

  • Chapter 20

    • Rabbit waits for the bus to Mt. Judge, and gets on when it comes.
    • Last night he went to Ruth’s but she wasn’t home, so he slept in a motel, waking in time to go to work, but “something” kept him away all day.
    • He tries to figure out what the “something” was, sure that it killed Rebecca.
    • He knew that part of it was wanting to see Ruth and waiting around all day for her.
    • But he’d eventually given up.
    • He realizes that he knew something wasn’t right at his apartment, but stayed away hoping he would find a way not to have to go back.
    • He knew it wasn’t Janice’s fault, but still felt like he was trapped in a life he didn’t want.
    • He tries to get rid of that feeling on the bus, but only succeeds in getting sick to his stomach. From the bus stop in Mt. Judge he goes to the Springers’ and knocks, and Mrs. Springer closes it when she sees it’s him. Soon Eccles lets him in and tells him Janice is sedated. When he asks about the baby, Eccles tells him: “The undertaker has her.”
    • Nelson comes and Rabbit holds him and listens to his son’s short, almost impassive recounting of the events.
    • Eccles suggests they go outside, and they do until Mr. Springer calls them to dinner.
    • Rabbit can’t eat and Mr. Springer tells him that he and his wife have been talking to Eccles.
    • They still think Rabbit is at fault, but that they have a share in it, too, having made Janice feel insecure all her life.
    • Mr. Springer tells Rabbit they want to let bygones be bygones and to just keep going.
    • Rabbit promises to do his part. Rabbit puts Nelson to bed and tells him he’s “a good boy.”
    • Nelson asks if the baby has died and Rabbit tells him she has, but that she is feeling good now.
    • He asks Mr. Springer if he should stay, and Mr. Springer tells him to come back in the morning.
    • They talk about Rabbit’s job at the lot (he isn’t fired) and then goes to the apartment.
    • The water is still in the tub and he drains it, amazed that God couldn’t have just pulled the plug like he did.
    • He goes to bed, thinking he won’t sleep, but he does for a bit, then wakes and rushes over to the Springers to try to see Janice, begging forgiveness all the way there.
    • Mrs. Springer gives him coffee and he goes to Janice.
    • She tells him she doesn’t want to see anyone but him, and he tells her he doesn’t blame her, only himself. He spends the day there, and Tothero comes to see him.
    • Tothero is in bad shape, and mostly wants reassurance from Rabbit that he told him what to do and that Rabbit didn’t listen to him.
    • It’s very awkward and Rabbit is glad to see him go. Later he talks to Eccles, and wants his advice.
    • Eccles advises him to be a good husband and father throughout his life, and that in this way he will find “forgiveness.”
    • He claims it’s his fault as much as Rabbit’s, and that as horrible as what happened is, it has brought Rabbit and Janice together.
    • This brings Rabbit some comfort, even though it doesn’t seem to jive with the reality of the world around him.

  • Chapter 21

    • He goes to bed with Janice, and “resents” her sound sleep.
    • He sleeps when it’s almost light, numbed by the idea of the funeral that would happen that day.
    • He dreams that he understands, through the image of the moon eclipsing the sun, the meaning of life and death and that he should find a new religion.
    • He wakes to find Janice dressed by the bed and realizes he was only dreaming.
    • They have breakfast and then walk to her place.
    • Rabbit thinks that if they can walk, their grief isn’t good enough, and he is angry.
    • He wonders about why he is here, in this particular place and time, and why he exists at all. Janice cries quietly.
    • Janice panics when they get to the apartment, but they go in and Rabbit gets his suit.
    • Nelson seems happy to be there, and this calms them.
    • When Janice is trying to get dressed, she reminds Rabbit of herself before they married, and he feels she’s his. But when he realizes she’s panicking, trying to get into her clothes that don’t fit, the mood is spoiled.
    • They talk about not being able to live in the apartment anymore, and he wishes he could just cry, but he stops crying when they are on the street, heading back to the Springers’.
  • Chapter 22

    • It seems like an eternity to Rabbit until the funeral.
    • Janice borrows clothing from her mother, and Rabbit blows up when she asks him how she looks, but then says her outfit is fine, already having hurt her.
    • At around one Mrs. Springer encourages him to eat, but he cannot.
    • Mr. Springer comes in rather excited, and reports that the coroner declared Becky’s death an accident, that there were no signs of deliberate abuse, but that he still wants to talk to Rabbit.
    • Rabbit suggest they jail him, and Mr. Springer advises him to stay positive and rational.
    • Rabbit’s stomach hurts and he eats two crackers, then eventually goes upstairs to borrow a clean shirt from Mr. Springer, then waits for everyone to come downstairs to leave for the funeral.
    • He thinks how terrified he is of seeing his parents, especially his mother. He knows she will have to stand by him, even if she no longer likes him, but that she has the power to kill him by abandoning him, just as she had the power to give him life.
    • Finally, the undertaker comes with the hearse.
  • Chapter 23

    • The funeral home is furnished in unnatural colors and they wait in a windowed waiting room.
    • Rabbit sees his family drive up, and when he announces this, everyone rises to greet them.
    • Mrs. Angstrom hugs Rabbit and says: “Hassy, what have they done to you?”
    • Then she goes and embraces Janice, calling her her daughter.
    • Eccles has come, and they have a small service during which Eccles recites from John 11:25.
    • Rabbit feels that no one around him is real and true except his Rebecca, and he starts to cry as the service continues, as he realizes the permanency of her death.
    • Then they put they put the coffin in the hearse and go to the cemetery.
    • The burial service is held, and the coffin lowered into the ground mechanically.
    • As the service continues, he feels like everyone there is helping to send Becky to heaven.
    • Rabbit looks at Janice, and tells her it was not him that did this, causing people to look at him.
    • He repeats to them that it was Janice, not him. Then he is completely mortified and runs away.
    • Eccles and others chase him and he goes into the woods, but realizing he’s still findable goes deeper and deeper.
    • He gets lost, and scares himself badly, but finally finds his way out, and then decides to at least call Eccles, because Eccles is really his friend.
    • When he calls, Lucy answers and then hangs up on him, which he takes to mean she will finally tell Eccles he smacked her behind, and that their relationship will be over, finally.
    • He feels a little better, feels that his daughter is in heaven now.
    • He gets to Ruth’s and she tells him to scram, to go back to Janice.
    • He explains that he’s left for good, though Ruth doesn’t buy it.
    • He guesses she’s pregnant and expresses dismay and makes to hug her, but she scratches him and moves behind a chair, yelling at him to leave.
    • They argue about him having gone to Janice, when she needed him after the blowjob incident.
    • He says he had to go and wasn’t aware she was pregnant.
    • She thinks he should have guessed, and he wants to know why she kept it from him.
    • She asks him to go, and he says he’s happy she’s having a baby, but she intimates that she had an abortion.
    • Rabbit is scared, and Ruth asks him how he can be there, with what happened to his daughter, who she accuses him of killing.
    • Rabbit finds out that she heard this from Eccles, who had called not long before Rabbit’s arrival.
    • He blames Janice, and asks not to have to discuss it.
    • They argue and he asks her: “Did you have an abortion?” and prays there is not another child’s death on his hands. Ruth explains that she tried to but couldn’t.
    • Rabbit tells her she is “good” and that he loves her.
    • She pulls away from him and they argue and she tells him she’s been to see her parents in west Brewer and told them about the baby, and then she gives him an ultimatum.
    • She wants him to get a divorce and marry her and find a way to support her and the baby, or (and the wording is slightly ambiguous here, but this is most likely) she will disappear from his life forever, and have an abortion.
    • He agrees and leaves to go get something from the deli, telling Ruth he won’t be long.
    • When he’s outside he gets scared about everything, but then thinks two things that help him:
      1. That Ruth will keep the baby.
      2. That she has parents.
    • He feels he can leave Janice and Ruth, and that their parents will take care of them.
    • He knows it’s not so easy when it comes to Nelson, and then he weighs all the elements of his life on that consideration.
    • He is so scared but looks up and sees a light in the church window, and this moves him to walk.
    • He doesn’t have any idea what he will do. He embraces his doubt, and then decides he wants to move on and, then, of course, with a sigh of relief, he runs.
    • (Don’t worry – if you want to know what happens, there are three more Rabbit books!)