Vol. 9 No. 4 (2020): ‘You don’t mind my calling you Harry?’ Terms of Address in John Updike’s Rabbit Tetralogy

Peter Backhaus (Waseda University)

This paper examines the use of address terms in John Updike’s Rabbit tetralogy (Updike 1995). The first part of the analysis provides a comprehensive overview of the great variety of terms used to address the protagonist, Harry Angstrom, in the decades covered by the novels. The second part focuses on two important side characters, Reverend Eccles and Harry’s mother-in-law. It demonstrates how address term usage with these two characters reflects ongoing changes in their relationship with Harry. The main aim of the paper is to demonstrate the potential of fictional data for the study of address terms and, in return, to capture the manifold functions of address terms as a literary device in fiction.

Published: 2020-08-19