Rabbit Redux

"I feel so guilty."
"Relax. Not everything is
your fault
."

Rabbit Redux

Harry Angstrom's run toward upward spaces and unseen worlds in Rabbit, Run slows to bewildered stasis in Rabbit Redux ( 1971). Dashing from personal sluggishness in the first novel, he shrinks from social upheaval in the second.The politics of national unrest rather than the pursuit of grace animates Redux. The time is 1969, and Harry is thirty-six years old. Hovering all around him, from the televisions in the local bars to the stories in the local press, is the adventure of the moon shot, the controlling metaphor of the novel. But rather than a celebration of American technology and human daring, the moon shot suggests to Harry and Updike a probe into emptiness, a spectacular show of nothingness.As the astronauts soar up, Rabbit's life sinks down.His family falls apart in this novel. The dark side of the moon sheds its gloom on Brewer and Mt. Judge, Pennsylvania, where Harry still lives and works.

It is a wonder that he stays there. If the lunar spaces suggest a boundless wasteland, then downtown Brewer is desolation and its suburbs are plastic.Sludge chokes the rivers, burger joints peddle "Luna specials" complete with an American flag stuck on top, and young punks litter the street corners while looking for dope and kicks.More than any other Updike novel, Rabbit Redux shows the author's concern with social disturbance in the guise of the Vietnam War, the black protest movement, and the drug culture.The title of the novel means "Rabbit led back," but one glances around Brewer and asks why he bothers.The anger and frustration of middle America clash with the anger and needs of the black outsider, and Rabbit feels caught in the trap.How can he care about the astronauts' heroics when political events invade private lives? The more

-64-

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John Updike's Novels
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • John Updike's Novels *
  • Table of Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments viii
  • Preface ix
  • Created Landscapes - The Poorhouse Fair (1959) the Coup (1978) *
  • The Poorhouse Fair *
  • The Coup 28
  • Why Rabbit Should Keep on Running - Rabbit, Run (1960) Rabbit Redux (1971) Rabbit Is Rich (1981) *
  • Rabbit, Run *
  • Rabbit Redux 64
  • Rabbit Is Rich 84
  • Home - The Centaur (1963) of the Farm (1965) 100
  • The Centaur *
  • Of the Farm 121
  • Faltering toward Divorce - Couples (1968) a Month of Sundays (1975) Marry Me: a Romance (1976) 140
  • Couples *
  • A Month of Sundays 163
  • Marry Me: A Romance 184
  • Bech: A Conclusion - Bech: a Book 200
  • Bech: A Book *
  • Selected Checklist of John Updike's Novels 212
  • Index 217
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