Study Guide

Rabbit, Run Chapter 21

By John Updike

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’.