The irony is that although children don’t seem to matter much to Rabbit the arrival of a baby daughter pulls him back to his wife. It is the minister Eccles who ends up watching Rabbit’s son Nelson playing in his grandmother’s yard fighting for toys and angering the neighbours dog. Rabbit seems to care about nothing other than trying to recapture former glories.
His relationship with Ruth seems to be built on possession and control. Those two factors make him feel successful and in the sense of being a competitor he has managed to beat her opposition. But ironically it is her previous independence that drives his jealousy.
He leaves her not knowing she is pregnant to head over to the hospital to see his new child arrive into the world. Ruth is left behind crying bitter tears sensing that she has lost Rabbit to the pull of his wife. It certainly appears that way as Rabbit leaves the maternity ward to stay with the minister rather than go back to Ruth’s apartment.
But for a man without much paternal pride will the thought of a daughter and another child on the way cause him to run off again. Probably.
Someone I once met had her husband walk out on four days after the birth of his son saying, “It wasn’t for him” the whole fatherhood idea. That real-life story reminds me very much of the fictional Rabbit.