Rabbit Angstrom  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Rabbit Angstrom is the main character in four of John Updike's novels and one novella. Updike's Rabbit Series (Rabbit, Run, Rabbit Redux, Rabbit Is Rich, Rabbit at Rest, Rabbit Remembered) follows Angstrom over the course of his lifetime as he struggles with many of the problems of middle-class American men in the second half of the twentieth century and—insofar as his problems deal with life, death, redemption and human relations—to all people.

Rabbit evolves as a character through forces of circumstance, but he does not seem to be able to accomplish anything extraordinary. At the same time, he is intelligent enough to understand his insignificance. Much of his life's problems involves his family—his wife, Janice; his parents; and his son, Nelson—as well as others, such as Ruth, a woman with whom he lives after deserting his wife for several months (and whom he in turn deserts after she becomes pregnant), Jill, an eighteen-year-old from Connecticut who lives with him for several months when his wife has left him and who burns to death in his home when he is sleeping with another woman at her home, and Skeeter, a journeyman who exposes Rabbit to scathing socio-theological critiques of American society, drugs and crime, and later dies in a shoot-out with police. Rabbit makes modest efforts to succeed and lives a somewhat reflective interior life, but it appears his renown and success peaked in high school as a star of the Brewer basketball team. After his parents die, he recognizes that no one cares about his petty accomplishments. In accordance with the title of the first book, Rabbit often runs from his problems, headlong into other problems, then doubles back into the mess his flight has wrought.

Not coincidentally, an angstrom is also a unit of measure equal to one one hundred millionth of a centimeter.

A fictional character with parallels to Rabbit in terms of his life not living up to initial notions of success and excitement is Frederick Moreau, of Flaubert's Sentimental Education.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Rabbit Angstrom" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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