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"Love it or leave it": American in Red, Gray and Blue in Rabbit Redux

Abstract : In Rabbit Redux, Updike tackles the political, social, racial and gender upheavals of the late 60s, a period “which made us stare at our bloody hands and confront the rapacious motives underneath the tricolor slogans and question our favored-nation status under God.” Considered by its author “the most violent and bizarre” of the Rabbit Angstrom tetralogy, Rabbit Redux fuses history and fiction in an apocalyptic narrative. Using the original 1971 hardback cover (with a background of red, gray and blue stripes) as its starting point, this essay focuses on the semiotic use of chromatic values and color imagery that transforms this chronicle of troubled times into a visionary happening: first, the fading of the starless banner in the spectral blankness of this summer of the moon; then the transformation of the green pastures of America into the deathly emblem of a world at war, at home and abroad; and finally the crossing of the color line in which the black man becomes the white of the page. The novel’s ambiguity culminates in an open, suspended, interrogative ending which maintains the reader in the gray zone of an unstable and complex truth.
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Contributor : Sylvie Mathé <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, February 12, 2020 - 4:42:31 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, February 13, 2020 - 1:36:09 AM

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Sylvie Mathé, Scott Dill, Matthew Shipe. "Love it or leave it": American in Red, Gray and Blue in Rabbit Redux. Updike & Politics. New Considerations., Rowman and Littlefield, 2019, 978-1-4985-7560-7. ⟨hal-02476451⟩

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