Quotes from Rabbit, Run

John Updike ·  325 pages

Rating: (44.9K votes)


“If you have the guts to be yourself, other people'll pay your price.”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run


“Everybody who tells you how to act has whiskey on their breath.”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run


“You do things and do things and nobody really has a clue.”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run


“There is this quality, in things, of the right way seeming wrong at first.”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run


“But it is just two lovers, holding hands and in a hurry to reach their car, their locked hands a starfish leaping through the dark.”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run



“...hate suits him better than forgiveness. Immersed in hate, he doesn't have to do anything; he can be paralyzed, and the rigidty of hatred makes a kind of shelter for him.”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run


“…he is unlike the other customers. They sense it too, and look at him with hard eyes, eyes like little metal studs pinned into the white faces of young men [...] In the hush his entrance creates, the excessive courtesy the weary woman behind the counter shows him amplifies his strangeness. He orders coffee quietly and studies the rim of the cup to steady the sliding in his stomach. He had thought, he had read, that from shore to shore all America was the same. He wonders, Is it just these people I’m outside or is it all America?”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run


“I once did something right. I played first-rate basketball. I really did. And after you're first-rate at something, no matter what, it kind of takes the kick out of being second-rate.”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run


“The thing about her is, she’s good-natured. He knew it the second he saw her standing by the parking meters. He could just tell from the soft way her belly looked. With women, you keep bumping against them, because they want different things, they’re a different race. Either they give, like a plant, or scrape, like a stone. In all the green world nothing feels as good as a woman’s good nature.”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run


“The fullness ends when we give Nature her ransom, when we make children for her. Then she is through with us, and we become, first inside, and then outside, junk. Flower stalks.”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run



“The difficulty with humorists is that they will mix what they believe with what they don’t—whichever seems likelier to win an effect.”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run


“As if pity is, as he has been taught, not a helpless outcry but a powerful tide that could redeem the world...”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run


“Laws aren't ghosts in this country, they walk around with the smell of earth on them.”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run


“...but with his mother there's no question of liking him they're not even in a way separate people he began in her stomach and if she gave him life she can take it away and if he feels that withdrawal it will be the grave itself.”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run


“He tries to picture how it will end, with an empty baseball field, a dark factory, and then over a brook in a dirt road, he doesn’t know. He pictures a huge vacant field of cinders and his heart goes hollow.”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run



“A woman once of some height, she is bent small, and the lingering strands of black look dirty in her white hair. She carries a cane, but in forgetfulness, perhaps, hangs it over her forearm and totters along with it dangling loose like an outlandish bracelet. Her method of gripping her gardener is this: he crooks his right arm, pointing his elbow toward her shoulder, and she shakily brings her left forearm up within his and bears down heavily on his wrist with her lumpish freckled fingers. Her hold is like that of a vine to a wall; one good pull will destroy it, but otherwise it will survive all weathers.”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run


“What is this? He has a sensation of touching glass. He doesn't know if they are talking about nothing or making code for the deepest meanings.”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run


“They’ve not forgotten him: worse, they never heard of him.”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run


“It frightens him to think of her this way. It makes her seem, in terms of love, so vast.”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run


“I warned you, he says, I warned you, Harry, but youth is deaf. Youth is careless.”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run



“With his white collar he forges god’s name on every word he speaks”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run


“Sun and moon, sun and moon, time goes.”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run


“Dabbling in the sandbox gives Rabbit a small headache. Over at the pavilion the rubber thump of Roofball and the click of checkers call to his memory, and the forgotten smell of that narrow plastic ribbon you braid bracelets and whistlechains out of and of glue and of the sweat on the handles on athletic equipment is blown down by a breeze laced with children's murmuring. He feels the truth: the thing that has left his life has left irrevocably; no search would recover it. No flight would reach it. It was here, beneath the town, in these smells and these voices, forever behind him. The fullness ends when we give Nature her ransom, when we make children for her. Then she is through with us, and we become, first inside, and then outside, junk. Flower stalks.”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run


“Right and wrong aren't dropped from the sky. We. We make them. Against misery. Invariably, Harry, invariably--he grows confident of his ability to negotiate long words--misery follows their disobedience. Not our own, often at first not our own.”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run


“The clangor of the body shop comes up softly. It's noise comforts him, tells him he is hidden and safe, that while he hides men are busy nailing the world down, and toward the disembodied sounds his heart makes in darkness a motion of love.”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run



“The Chinese food arrives. Delicious saliva fills his mouth. He really hasn't had any since Texas. He loves this food that contains no disgusting proofs of slain animals, a bloody slab of cow haunch, a hen's sinewy skeleton; these ghosts have been minced and destroyed and painlessly merged with the shapes of insensate vegetables, plump green bodies that invite his appetite's innocent gusto. Candy.”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run


“Nelson! Stop that this minute!" She turns rigid in the glider but does not rise to see what is making the boy cry. Eccles, sitting by the screen, can see. The Fosnacht boy stands by the swing, holding two red plastic trucks. Angstrom's son, some inches shorter, is batting with an open hand toward the bigger boy's chest, but does not quite dare to move forward a step and actually strike him...Nelson's face turns up toward the porch and he tries to explain, "Pilly have - Pilly -" But just trying to describe the injustice gives it unbearable force, and as if struck from behind he totters forward and slaps the thief's chest and receives a mild shove that makes him sit on the ground. He rolls on his stomach and spins in the grass, revolved by his own incoherent kicking. Eccles' heart seems to twist with the child's body; he knows so well the propulsive power of a wrong, the way the mind batters against it and each futile blow sucks the air emptier until it seems the whole frame of blood and bone must burst in a universe that can be such a vacuum.”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run


“Momentarily drained of lust, he stares at the remembered contortions to which it has driven him. His life seems a sequence of grotesque poses assumed to no purpose, a magic dance empty of belief. There is no God; Janice can die: the two thoughts come at once, in one slow wave. He feels underwater, caught in chains of transparent slime, ghosts of the urgent ejaculations he has spat into the mild bodies of women. His fingers on his knees pick at persistent threads.”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run


“Momentarily drained of lust, he stares at the remembered contortions to which it has driven him. His life seems a sequence of grotesque poses assumed to no purpose, a magic dance empty of belief.”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run


“Трудность общения с остряками cостоит в том, что они смешивают то, во что верят, с тем, во что не верят лишь бы скорее произвести желанный эффект.”
― John Updike, quote from Rabbit, Run



About the author

John Updike
Born place: in Shillington, Pennsylvania, The United States
Born date March 18, 1932
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