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LANGUAGE IN INDIA
Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow
Volume 15:1 January 2015
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This is our 15th year of publication. All back issues of the journal are accessible through this link: http://languageinindia.com/backissues/2001.html Contents Collapse of Values as Picturised in John Updike’s Novels Rabbit, Run and Rabbit Redux R. Aarthy, M.A., M.Phil. 1-12 Language in India www.languageinindia.com ISSN 1930-2940 15:1 January 2015 List of Contents i Potentials of Post-MT Editing as a Teaching Method to Promote Translation Quality & Time Spent Mohammed Mohammed Al-Aqeeli Dr. B. S. Jadhav 13-20 Rhyme and Phonemic Awareness Skills in Kannada Speaking Children with Cerebral Palsy Angel Mercy Ruby Selvakumar, MASLP Sunila John, Ph.D.
G Kanaka, Ph.D.
B Rajashekhar, Ph.D. 21-35
Kala Ghoda Poems:
Anguish Brought by Hypocrisy of Progress Dr. Mrs. Anisa G. Mujawar, M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D. 36-45 Politeness Strategies and Address Forms Used by Filipino Domestic Helpers in Addressing Their Malaysian Employers Aries Dahan Gan, MESL Maya Khemlani David, Ph.D.
Francisco Perlas Dumanig, Ph.D. 46-73
Diasporic Experiences in Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies and Unaccustomed Earth C. G. Karthikadevi, M.A., M.Phil., M.Ed. 118-127
The Reasons for Disparity between the Language Institutions of Australia, Britain Canada and USA Reem Alsuhayyan, M.A. in Linguistics 299-305 ESL Instruction Based on Learning Style for the Faculty of Arts First Year Tamil Medium Undergraduates – University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka M. Saravanapava Iyer, Ph.D. 306-320
Language in India www.languageinindia.com ISSN 1930-2940 15:1 January 2015 List of Contents iv ================================================================= Language in India www.languageinindia.com ISSN 1930-2940 Vol. 15:1 January 2015 ================================================================= Collapse of Values as Picturised in John Updike’s Novels Rabbit, Run and Rabbit Redux R. Aarthy, M.A., M.Phil.
Abstract The paper entitled Collapse of Values as Picturised in John Updike’s Novels, Rabbit, Run and Rabbit Redux attempts to picturise how values collapse in American culture and society. John Updike is one of the most prolific and important American Novelists. The Former Novel Rabbit, Run is unified around Rabbit’s impulse for the natural and the consequences of this impulse. Rabbit, as a “Noble” urban savage, images modern man’s traditionless character and portends his concomitant problems. The latter novel Rabbit Redux deals with the Collapse of values as depicted in itself. It is an attempt to depict the tumult of the era as it happens in contemporary American culture. The apocalyptic interpretation of twentieth century life is presented in Rabbit Redux through the annihilation resulting from the loss human values. Updike devised for himself a style of narration, an Language in India www.languageinindia.com ISSN 1930-2940 15:1 January 2015 R. Aarthy, M.A., M.Phil. 1 Collapse of Values as Picturised in John Updike’s Novels - Rabbit, Run and Rabbit Redux intense, present tense and free indirect style. The Rabbit novels were written by Updike in the present tense. Updike vividly portrays the collapse of values in American culture and society through his novels Rabbit, Run and Rabbit Redux.
Keywords Racism, American pragmatism, Hippies and Colloquialism.
John Updike – Love of Words and Ideas John Updike is considered one of the greatest American fiction writers of twentieth century. He is a prodigy. His natural talent is so great that for some time it has been a positive handicap to him, in a small way by exposing him from an early age to a great deal of headturning praise and in a large way by continually getting out of hand. His love of words and ideas for their own sake is almost Joycean. Updike’s style is as winning and as polished as the people from whose voice it derives.
Careful Craftsmanship and Unique Prose Style Updike was well recognized for his careful craftsmanship, his unique prose style, and his prolificness. Updike populated his fiction with characters that “frequently experience personal turmoil and must respond to crises relating to religion, family, obligations, and marital infidelity. His fiction is distinguished by its attention to the concerns, passions, and suffering of average Americans. His work has attracted a significant amount of critical attention and praise.
Principal Themes The principal themes in Updike’s work are religion, sex and American as well as death. Updike wrote about America with a certain nostalgia, reverence, and recognition and celebration of America’s broad diversity. Updike’s fiction always shows the dramatic moods
women-his mother, his mistress and his wife. He has a feeling that life is pinned between anarchic and holistic impulses continually expressed in sexual ambivalences. The hero is often bewitched between his mistress and wife finding his destiny in sexual calamity. The various themes that Updike hastened to explore in his fiction take the shapes of dualisms: life vs death, the individual vs society, and love vs hate, matter vs spirit and intuition vs Christian institution. Updike looks very much concerned with the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself.
Focus of This Study Among the novels of John Updike Rabbit, Run and Rabbit, Redux are chosen for this paper with the title “Collapse of Values as Picturised in John Updike’s Novels: Rabbit, Run and Rabbit Redux.” Through these novels, Updike attempts to picturise how values collapse in American culture and society. The Rabbit novels serve as a fictionalized time-line of the post-war American experience.
dissatisfaction and marital tension mask religious questing. The protagonist Harry Angstrom is meant to be a type of American “everyman”. He is convinced that life has something better in store for him. As an athlete, he was able to separate himself from the masses. Now that his golden days are over, he has lost his ability to feel special. Rabbit cannot break free from his fate as an average citizen, and this is at the heart of his frustration. It is important to remember that Harry is only twenty-six years old. He has the problems of an adult without the maturity to deal with them. Rabbit simply needs to escape in order to turn out all right.
His troubles are too complicated and ruin any hope of a simple escape plan. He realizes that his flight is no solution and retreats. His problems are rooted in the constraints of ordinary American life. It will follow him wherever he goes, which makes his attempted escape a failure. Television is a quintessential American institution as well. One of the sources of Rabbit’s frustration with his married life is the fact that Janice is addicted to it. It perhaps makes her even more “dumb”.
Harry Rabbit Angstrom is caught between society’s markers of success as money, happy family, respectable jobs and his own individual measures. He is fed up with his mediocre existence, so he decides not to play by the rules any longer. He leaves his wife and takes up with Ruth. He is an ambivalent individual who lacks drive and direction. Rabbit whole persona was problematic considering the conservative times of the 1950’s. The fact that Rabbit leaves his son and pregnant wife to take up with a prostitute was certainly enough to elicit negative reactions in the American fifties.
Sex Becomes Lust Sex becomes more than simply an act of lust, though it is never quite associated with love. When Rabbit was making love to Ruth for the first time and later, his failed attempt to do the same to Janice. On both occasions, the prime motif is that of a need to connect on both the physical and spiritual level. Instead, it emerges as an almost religious process, through which two humans strive to seek or create an invisible bond. Updike has tried to sources, to polarize it in its inner world (anima) against the family (res), that visible evidence of a character’s past efforts to create a reality both embodying and transcending passion. The family is not merely a source of security and mutual affection, but also a prison. Likewise, adultery is a multifarious set of experiences ranging from boredom and disgust to beauty and tenderness.
Dialectic of Images Updike has carefully tended a dialectic of images and “all the little congruences and arabesques” within and throughout the novel as Rabbit turns alternatively toward the matrix of family, responsibility, agape, sacrifice and then to the seemingly opposite values of
to begin another, breaks that to reunite the first, and breaks that to run. Rabbit's young age is not to be forgotten. It is quite clear that a heavy burden has been placed on his shoulders at a time when he is obviously not mature enough to handle it. It is evident that Rabbit is illprepared for the strains of adult life. Rabbit is a man of faith, due to the ease in which he drops everything, his wife, his job, his standing in society.
Role of the Church The church is generally regarded as an element of society with a moral authority over its members. It is easy to imagine Reverend Eccles as a kind of adversary to Rabbit, the force for “good” countering Rabbit’s misdeeds. The irony is that although Rabbit is far from a typical God-fearing man, he possesses a strong faith, though at times it would appear that he only believes in himself. Jack Eccles, the episcopal minister, demonstrates the extreme example of ineffectual authority. He differs from Rabbit’s father and Tothero in that he attempts to provide Rabbit with guidance. Part of his ineffectuality stems from his family’s background of religious division. As a spiritual authority, Eccle’s background lays out an inversion of Rabbit’s problem. Eccles is swamped by a surplus of traditions which leaves him in the same predicament as having none.
Cultural Experience in All Its Complexity Updike records the cultural experience in all its complexity and shows how the individual’s attitudes, beliefs, and his very life are vulnerable to the pressures of external reality in times of cultural transition. The vital suburban cultural references were central to Rabbit’s quest for something beyond, have been shattered. It spiritually meaningful quest in
Adamic Figure In the solid American tradition of the anti-intellectual hero, Rabbit becomes another Adamic figure who ignores prescribed laws. He interestingly lacks even the mental ability to rebel against prescription. He is hardly aware of it. Rabbit’s natural impulses only lead him into greater difficulties. But Updike breaks away from a heavy American tradition; he doesn’t insist upon cataclysmic difficulties to a dynamic hero. He images the loss of traditional values and the encroachment of destroying nature in Rabbit’s initial walk to get his car and son at the opening of the novel.
Lament for the Loss of Traditional Values: Muted Perspective Although Rabbit, Run aligns itself with the twentieth century lament for the loss of traditional values, John Updike examines the loss from a refreshingly muted perspective.
Updike colloquializes the lament without losing any of its seriousness. And more than simply examining and describing the problems of the traditions hero, Updike predicts effects. Rabbit is belabored by a permissive society. He not only lacks guidelines for action, but also he reverts to animalistic responses both in crises and in normal situations. The novel Rabbit, Run is unified around Rabbit’s impulse for the natural and the consequences of this impulse.
Since abstracted values promulgated by sublimating prescriptions have eroded, Rabbit must root his values out of the modern man’s impulse for the natural; his instinct, is urged upon him by the breakdown of the prescriptive world.
Rabbit Redux – Depiction of the Tumult of the Era
John Updike and it stands almost alone as the sole attempt to depict the tumult of the era as sit happened in contemporary American culture. Rabbit Redux (1971), takes up the story of Harry Angstrom ten years later at the age of thirty-six Updike continues Rabbit’s story against a background of current events. The apocalyptic interpretation of twentieth century life is presented in Rabbit Redux through the annihilation resulting from the loss of human values. The moon shot is a splendid display of American technology, but symbolizes nothingness. The war in Vietnam is seen as merely a way of diverting attention from problems at home. Finally sexual freedom is nothing more than another form of exploitation that harms and enslaves.
Harry – A Representative of the Times Harry defends conventional values like family loyalty, hard work and sexual compromise. But in 1960s such values are obsolete and they put him in conflict with