LITERATURE: Rabbit, Run – Character

Updike uses an omniscient third person point of view which naturally gives us good insight into a character.  As a matter of fact, everything seems to be about character here, and I like that.  It appears that this will be what drives the story and there’s already enough to see that troubles and conflicts will arise to produce a story just out of the information we have so far:

He goes to the closet and takes out the coat he hung up so neatly.  The clutter behind him in the room–the Old-fashioned glass with its corrupt dregs, the choked ashtray balanced on the easy-chair arm, the rumpled rug, the floppy stacks of slippery newspapers, the kid’s toys here and there broken and stuck and jammed, a leg off a doll and a piece of bent cardboard that went with some breakfast-box cutout, the rolls of fuzz under the radiators, the continual crisscrossing mess–clings to his back like a tightening net.  (p. 19)

So we’re not only given what Rabbit’s wife, Janice, is like, but how he looks at his world.  How he sees her, his "kid", his home, all becoming a "tightening net."  We can feel that Rabbit has thoughts of running.

And Janice:

She moves into the kitchen, angry but not angry enough.  She should be really sore, or not sore at all, since all he had said was what he had done a couple hundred times.  Maybe a thousand times.  Say, on the average once every three days since 1956.  What’s that? Three hundred.  That often?  Then why is it always an effort?  She used to make it easier before they got married.  She could be sudden then.  Just a girl.  (p. 17)

How typical of a relationship; the different point of views, the difference in priorities, the hostility held in and argued within oneself instead of with each other.  Janice obviously has an image of herself that doesn’t jive with Rabbit’s version.  She knows that she’s changed and yet the journey as she sees it is a path marked with street names unknown to Rabbit, as his are to her.

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