John Updike Essay, Research Paper
While roaming through different John Updike stories, I found styles of writing that varied within each one. A typical Updike character was self-absorbed and guilt ridden (Disc.Authors Pg. ). One of these stories I read was the Witches of Eastwick. In this novel, I realized it was a high spirited comedy. The romance along with the evil involved made it a well-written fable.
When career thinking came up for John Updike he could not make the decision on his future plans for life (Thompson 976). With high hopes John planned to be a cartoonist. As he started to mature, though, his interest shifted toward writing, and by age 18, he had decided to follow writing as a career (Thompson 976). Some influences were involved with this decision. ?In addition to enduring bouts with hay fever and psoriasis, Updike had a painful skin disease that he had to deal with (America Online)?. The isolation he suffered from these illnesses compelled him to the solitary occupation of writing (Thompson 976).
John Updike did not have any real influences in most of his writings. His books consist of fictional novels that he created with no alterior help. Some, although few do relate to his life. One of Updike?s novels, The Rabbit Run has some of the same characteristics that he had when he was younger. John Updike’s choice of Rabbit Angstrom, in Rabbit, Run, was inspired by one of a happy, instinctive accident that shapes a literary career (America Online). For Rabbit, the main character in the story was born, like him, in the early 1930’s, and a product of the same world (the area around Reading, Pa.) was a “beautiful brainless guy” whose career (as a high
school basketball star) peaked at age 18. In his own wife’s view, he was like this, before their early marriage. Rabbit is the enormously promising president of the class of 1950 at Shillington High School. This relationship between both of them has allowed John Updike to dramatize with great detail Rabbit’s life and to be able to dissect him (America Online).
As with every writer, there are critics. These people provide information on an author?s work, skills and quality of writing. Joyce Oakes, a well – known critic of the East Coast had things to say about John Updike (America Online). ?Updike presents average people, mostly men, searching for artistic or religious meaning in the awareness of their own morality within his work?(America Online). Critics rarely agree on the artistic value of Updike?s work though. Literary figures such as Norman Mailer and John W. Aldridge regard his style as superficial, a lack of substance within the book (Discovering Authors Pg. ). Most critics, however, concede John Updike?s work as a mastery of presentation and consider him among America?s most distinguished authors. John Cheever a critic from Boston said that Updike is ?the most brilliant and versatile writer of his generation (Disc. Authors Pg. ).
All critics have their own set beliefs and ideas about an author?s writing. As with all of them their thinking is not all the same. While looking at all of the quotes from these people I noticed the inconsistent thoughts that were brought forward. Some of them thought that Updike was a shallow writer but others regarded him a legend of his time. I think John Updike is a somewhat dull writer that does not focus on the facts. He does not leave the reader with an understanding of the moral of the story. Though his novels seem to be for the adult majority, I had trouble understanding some lines out of his books.
Many people would recognize John Updike as an important figure in American Literature. All of his novels have a consistent quality to the reader and offer a book worth buying. These novels have earned him many prestigious awards including the National Book Critics Circle Award in fiction nomination in 1986 for Roger?s Version and in 1991 the Pulitzer Prize for the Rabbit At Rest (Disc. Authors Pg. ). In his long career he has explored in depth the art of writing novels, writing short stories, being a poet, essayist, and dramatist which has made him a well known name among American Literature today (Disc. Authors Pg. ).