November 10, 2014
John Updike, the Narrative
John Updike was born March 18th 1932, and sadly passed away not too long ago in 2009. Throughout his life John has written many novels and poems and short stories. I have chosen to look at his use of narrative in his short stories. Narrative is defined, “of or relating to the process of telling a story.” (Webster) While this assignment is supposed to be based on the one sample in the book I have chosen to look at John Updike and his short stories as a whole.
John Updike has been acclaimed as “one of the most accomplished stylists and prolific writers of his generation. In both thematic seriousness and narrative range, he produced a body of writing of the highest order.”(John G. Parks) It is through his narratives that John was able to touch on many of the issues that were facing America at the time. His handhold on the middleclass and their struggles with morality, social norms, divorce, a changing of the time is all expressed in his short stories and novels. In his story “A&P” we see the main character, Sammy, choosing to make a stand against old thoughts of decency, as his manager tells three young girls that they should be better dressed to come in the store. Is this a narrative just about the older generation picking on the younger? Or is there a deeper meaning, like there was in so many of his other stories. “Showing remarkable versatility and range, and meeting with both critical and popular success, Updike’s fiction represents a penetrating realist chronicle of the changing morals and manners of American society. His novels continued the long national debate on American civilization and its discontents.” (John G. Parks)
John Updike through his narratives has had many critics, both good and bad. “Like Melville, James, and Hemingway, John Updike provokes strong opinions in people whether they have read his work or not” ( Stanley Cavell) Joh Updike was one...
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