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A hot story by G Venkataraman

By G Venkataraman

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Vargo concluded that efforts to categorize Rabbit are futile, but the fact that readers and critics continue to respond so diversely suggests that something worth investigating is occurring with respect to our identification with this protagonist. On one level, acknowledging that Rabbit is as likable and as good as Everyman is essential to the interpretation offered here. Critics note Rabbit's boyish charm; Updike admires his "great willingness to earn" (Kakutani, "Turning" 15); and most readers sympathize with his aspiration and confusion.

164 9. Laius and Oedipus 186 10. Rabbit at Rest: More Mail from Tunis 209 Notes 241 Bibliography 250 Index 259 Page ix Preface THIS "RE-VISION" grew out of a sense that something disturbing was occurring both in the texts of the first three Rabbit novels and in the critical community. Although at that time, I was unaware of Judith Fetterley's excellent work in The Resisting Reader (1978), I nevertheless felt that a woman reader was being asked to identify with a protagonist whose behavior toward women was sometimes clearly abusive.

Finally, the depth, breadth, and seriousness of Updike's explorations have discouraged close scrutiny. If he had uncovered flaws susceptible to cosmetic revision, if he had not involved the whole culture in Rabbit's hopeless and pathological enterprise, or if he had shown some optimism regarding female ascendancy or the advent of a new man, his representation of masculinity might have borne looking into earlier. As it is, he probes the relationship between assumptions and values at the heart of Western culture and the shape of socially constructed Page 3 masculinity.

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