Nicknamed "Rabbit" for his appearance, Harry is twenty-six years old when we meet him, a faded high school basketball star who now works as a kitchen gadget salesman. Unhappy with his marriage and occupation, and plagued with an ever-wandering eye, Rabbit searches throughout the novel for love, God, meaning - anything to fill the emptiness at his core.
Rabbit's wife. Their hasty marriage resulted from her pregnancy when Rabbit was only twenty-one. When the novel opens, she is pregnant with a second child. She is prone to drinking, and has a knack for angering her husband, although Updike suggests that she may truly love him.
A young minister suffering a crisis of faith, Jack Eccles makes "saving" Rabbit his mission. He is well-liked by his parishioners - a sociable and caring man, he is given to spending hours chatting with teenagers about their problems. He rejects the more traditional and archaic demands of his profession, favoring interacting with people over devoting entire days to solitary prayer.
A woman with a sordid past who once worked, at least unofficially, as a prostitute, Ruth Leonard lives alone in a two-person apartment before Rabbit settles in with her. Her life has been dominated by her encounters and relationships with men. She is very conscious of her weight, considering herself plump, but at one moment, to Rabbit's eyes, she becomes "beauty's home image." By turns cruel and affectionate, she lives with Rabbit for two months, during which time he impregnates her. The novel does not reveal what ultimately becomes of the baby.
Rabbit's two year-old son with Janice.
Rebecca June Angstrom
Rabbit and Janice's baby daughter, whom Janice accidentally drowns in a bathtub.
The unhappy wife of Jack Eccles. Lucy is filled with bitterness at what religion has done to her marriage: to her, Jack is unloving, reserving his "gaiety" for his parishioners rather than for his family. Though at first she seems attracted to Rabbit, who playfully slaps her bottom during their first encounter, his refusal of what he perceives as an advance from her prompts her to dismiss him as a "worthless heel."
One of Jack's parishioners. The seventy-three-year-old Mrs. Smith employs Rabbit to tend her late husband's garden. A farmer's daughter and quite a chatterbox, she reminisces about the war, the Depression, and her life on a farm. She seems very fond of Rabbit - perhaps she is even, in some unsaid way, in love with him.
Rabbit's former basketball coach. Marty was quite popular at the high school, but was ousted due to a "scandal." He ceaselessly cheats on his wife, Harriet Tothero, but still tries to give Rabbit advice concerning his own situation. Referring to our hero as his "finest boy", Marty dotes on Rabbit as if he were his father until two successive strokes cripple him.
A former teammate of Rabbit's. Ronnie does not seem much better off in life than his friend: when we meet him, he is out with Margaret Kosko at the Club Castanet, and he tells a story about a drive he and Ruth Leonard made to Atlantic City. The tale fills Rabbit with jealousy, and a verbal battle ensues between the two.
A friend of Ruth Leonard's. Margaret is the apple of Tothero's eye when we first meet her, but unfortunately she treats him with nothing but contempt.
Rabbit's beautiful sister, of whom he remains extremely protective.
The old Lutheran minister of Mt. Judge. He is strict and harshly conservative in comparison to Eccles.
Mr. and Mrs. Springer
Janice's parents. Mr. Springer works as a used-car salesman. His wife is harshly critical of Rabbit, though after our hero returns to Janice she seems to be on the verge of warming up to him.
Mr. and Mrs. Angstrom
Rabbit's parents. Both were once terribly proud of their son, but both are now deeply disappointed in what he has become. Mrs. Angstrom dislikes Janice, and views the marriage as nothing more than her successful manipulation of Rabbit. Mr. Angstrom is more critical of Rabbit himself, labeling him "the worst kind of Brewer bum" when he is living with Ruth.
Rabbit, Run Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Rabbit, Run is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
I would say it is Harry himself. It is Harry that left his wife in the first place and keeps flip flopping between a prostitute and his wife. Harry is looking for something that Tothero suggests does not exist. Henry hurts many people in the...
"Rabbit refers to Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom. This is where all those hours of Discovery Channel pay off, and where we can let our inner Bugs Bunny shine. Rabbit is almost as much bunny as he is man. Throw in some Peter...
One of Updike's largest influences in his writing were the teachings of dialectical theologian Karl Barth. In order to really comprehend the purpose of Updike's writing it's important for the reader to understand how Barth's...