Mount Judge. Suburb of Brewer in which Rabbit Angstrom and his wife, Janice, live in a tiny row house. Rabbit feels trapped here, and the novel describes the rooms and the streets outside as confining. While much of the action of the novel involves Rabbit fleeing his home, the symbolic significance of this location makes it essential to understanding the novel. Within the Angstrom home occurs one of the central ironic actions of the novel: the death by drowning of Rabbit and Janice’s baby daughter. Hence, the home is seen as a place not where life is fostered but rather where it is snuffed out prematurely.
Penn Villas. The second home Rabbit and his wife own is a typical American suburban villa. Living in what might be called a version of Levittown, Rabbit is transformed from a man on the run into someone to whom things happen. Most of the action of Rabbit Redux takes place in his home. There he admits a wandering “hippie,” Jill Pendleton, and she in turn brings into the home Skeeter, an African American radical. By having these social misfits invade Rabbit’s house, Updike is able to contrast the ordinariness of middle-class American life with the turbulent activities that were tearing apart the United States in the 1960’s.
Springer home. Because the Angstrom’s lose their home in a fire, they are forced to live for a time with Janice’s parents. Updike takes this opportunity to show how relationships among parents, children, and in-laws create anxieties in middle-class Americans and also how loving parents like the Springers see themselves as providers for their children and grandchildren. Rabbit often suffers anxiety stemming from Mr. Springer’s generously bringing him into the automobile dealership. These feelings conflict with the resentment he feels regarding his dependence on his in-laws. Living in their home is a tangible sign of that dependence.
Springer Motors. Automobile dealership owned by Rabbit’s father-in-law, Fred Springer. The dealership is significant in all the Rabbit novels. Fred Springer is a typical middle-class American pursuing the American Dream. His automobile dealership provides not only financial comfort but also employment for others, including Charlie Stavros, at times Rabbit’s friend but at other times Janice’s lover. Eventually the dealership becomes the source of Rabbit’s income, allowing him to establish a retirement home in Florida.
Deleon. Florida town that is the principal setting of the final novel in the tetralogy, Rabbit at Rest. Deleon is the place at which Rabbit goes into semiretirement. His relocation to Florida, Updike suggests subtly, is a metaphor for all America: Constantly at odds with the fact of their aging, Americans seek a land of eternal youth. Further irony is created by the choice of retirement communities: Valhalla, the name of the hall of the gods in Norse mythology.
Basketball courts. Scenes of the opening and closing scenes in the tetralogy. The opening scene of Rabbit, Run takes place on a basketball court, where Rabbit, in his twenties, plays a pickup basketball game to demonstrate his youthful prowess. The action is significant and symbolic: Throughout the four novels, Rabbit continually struggles with the fact of his own aging. With skillful irony, Updike repeats the scene at the end of Rabbit at Rest. On a basketball court in Florida, Rabbit collapses and dies of a heart attack while playing a pickup basketball game. The symmetry of setting suggests the sense of closure that Updike wishes to achieve in his four-volume saga of middle-class America.