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Rabbit is Rich (John Updike)

In the third novel in John Updike's Rabbit series, Rabbit is Rich, Updike's protagonist Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom has achieved financial security as the owner of a Toyota dealership. Indeed, Harry appears to be enjoying the good life, and he believes himself as happy and fulfilled. However, as the novel progresses, it becomes obvious that the life that Harry believes he has built for himself is truly an illusion. His family situation, as well as his unresolved feelings for a former lover, provide complications that force Harry to realize he has not come as far as he once thought. Thus, while Harry may have finally attained material possessions, enjoying a country club membership and trips to the Caribbean, he lacks a certain inner peace. In many ways, his life is hollow, as he is dissatisfied with the trappings of his middle class, suburban existence. In this sense, Rabbit cannot be considered truly rich.

On the surface, Harry appears to enjoy quite a prosperous, carefree life. He has achieved a certain degree of success in his career, as he owns a profitable Toyota dealership. Indeed, his position fills him with a sense of pride, and Harry feels himself to be "athe star and spearpoint of all these two dozen employees and hundred thousand square feet of working spacea" (Updike 8). Furthermore, his business allows him to attain all the trappings of suburban bliss, namely a comfortable home, a wealthy wife, and membership at the local country club. Within his marriage, Harry is able to enjoy sexual freedom, as he and his wife Janice participate in partner-swapping while on a trip to the Caribbean with friends. Clearly, Harry's life is full of superficial pleasures.

However, Rabbit's life is not all that it appears on the surface, as Updike hastens to demonstrate. The novel's very timeline helps emphasize this fact, as the events take place in 1979 when the United States is in the midst of a gas crisis. Cer...

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Rabbit is Rich (John Updike). (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 02:29, January 31, 2023, from