john updike research

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Literary Research- The Life and Times John Updike was born on March 18, 1932 in Reading, Pennsylvania. He was an only child of Wesely and Grace Updike. He was raised in nearby small town of Shillington. His father was a high school science teacher and his mother was an aspiring writer. In her fifties, some of her short stories were published in The New Yorker. For the majority of his childhood, he lived in a house with his parents and grandparents. At the age of thirteen, his family made the move to an 80 acre farmhouse a few miles away from Shillington. Moving to a rural area left Updike isolated and turned to literature for for companionship. “I remember the sofa and the way I’d lie on it with a box of raisins on my stomach, and I’d eat the raisins and read” He continued his schooling and did so well that he became the president of his class and later Co- Valedictorian. From a very young age Updike read a great amount of popular fiction, more specifically mysteries and humor. After high school, for a couple of summers he worked for the Reading Eagle as a copy boy. Later he would go on to write stories for the company. Updike was an English major at the Harvard University. As an undergraduate he wrote numerous short stories and cartoons for the Harvard Lampoon, a humor magazine. In his senior year he was the magazine’s president. His junior year he met his soon to be wife Mary E. Pennington. In 1954, Updike graduated summa cum laude. A few months later he sold two separate works to The New Yorker Magazine. John and Mary lived in England for a year while he studied at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art at Oxford. There he met two editors of The New Yorker, E. B. and Katherine White. They encouraged him to pursu... ... middle of paper ... ... girls,” The one that caught my eye first was the one in the plaid green two-piece. She was a chunky kid, with a good tan and a sweet broad soft-looking can with those two crescents of white just under it, where the sun never seems to hit, at the top of the backs of her legs.” (Updike 311). It is easy to pick up that the main character is so taken with these girls because he refers to the rest of the customers as sheep. In comparison to numerous other works by Updike, ordinary life is portrayed in this story. Ordinary as it may be, it is shown that major things (major from the viewpoint of the main character) happen in small towns with people in “the middle.” As an act of heroism, Sammy quits his job and expects to be greeted by the three ladies but walks out to an empty parking lot. Updike shows that life can be disappointing and not all good deeds reap rewards.
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