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In John Updike's novel Rabbit, Run, the following sentence appears at the end of the...

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expansion | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted March 10, 2011 at 7:43 AM via web

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In John Updike's novel Rabbit, Run, the following sentence appears at the end of the first paragraph "The kids keep coming, they keep crowding you up." Who is the "you" referred to here? Is it the narrator talking to Angstrom or Angstrom talking to himself?

Boys are playing basketball around a telephone pole with a backboard bolted to it.  Legs, shouts.  The scrape and snap of Keds on loose-alley pebbles seems to catapult their voices high into the moist March' air blue above the wires.   Rabbit Angstrom, coming up the "alley in a business suit, stops and watches, though he's twenty-six and six three. So tall, he. seems an unlikely rabbit,: but .the breadth of white face," the pallor of his blue irises and a nervous flutter under his brief nose as he stabs a cigarette into his mouth partially explain the nickname, which was given to him when he too was a boy. ' "He stands there thinking. The kids keep coming, they keep crowding you up.

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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 14, 2012 at 1:46 PM (Answer #1)

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In the opening paragraph of John Updike’s novel Rabbit, Run, the main character, Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, comes upon a group of boys playing basketball. Rabbit himself played basketball when he was a boy, but now he is a grown man with a wife, a small child, a job, and various other adult responsibilities. As he looks at the boys enjoying their ballgame, he thinks to himself,

the kids keep coming, they keep crowding you up.

Rabbit realizes that he is no longer young. He realizes that he becomes older each minute of his life and that his youth is receding. He misses his youth, but he realizes that there are always new “kids” who “keep coming.” In other words, new generations of young people are always appearing, making the preceding generations feel older and older. Updike here presents Rabbit engaging in a moment of sober reflection about his past, his present, and his likely future – a future in which he will inevitably grow older, less young, than he already is.

 

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