John Updike Essay Baseball

John Updike Essay Baseball-89
The author brooded over his father's low pay and mocking students, but also wrote of a childhood of "warm and action-packed houses that accommodated the presence of a stranger, my strange ambition to be glamorous." For Updike, the high life meant books, such as the volumes of P. Wodehouse and Robert Benchley he borrowed from the library as a child, or, as he later recalled, the "chastely severe, time-honored classics" he read in his dorm room at Harvard University, leaning back in his "wooden Harvard chair," cigarette in hand. (Updike divorced Pennington in 1975 and was remarried two years later, to Martha Bernhard). White, offered him a position at The New Yorker, where he served briefly as foreign books reviewer.

The author brooded over his father's low pay and mocking students, but also wrote of a childhood of "warm and action-packed houses that accommodated the presence of a stranger, my strange ambition to be glamorous." For Updike, the high life meant books, such as the volumes of P. Wodehouse and Robert Benchley he borrowed from the library as a child, or, as he later recalled, the "chastely severe, time-honored classics" he read in his dorm room at Harvard University, leaning back in his "wooden Harvard chair," cigarette in hand. (Updike divorced Pennington in 1975 and was remarried two years later, to Martha Bernhard). White, offered him a position at The New Yorker, where he served briefly as foreign books reviewer.

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Describing a man's interrupted quest to make love, Updike likened it "to a small angel to which all afternoon tiny lead weights are attached." Nothing was too great or too small for Updike to poeticize.

He might rhapsodize over the film projector's "chuckling whir" or look to the stars and observe that "the universe is perfectly transparent: we exist as flaws in ancient glass." In the richest detail, his books recorded the extremes of earthly desire and spiritual zealotry, whether the comic philandering of the preacher in "A Month of Sundays" or the steady rage of the young Muslim in "Terrorist." Raised in the Protestant community of Shillington, Pa., where the Lord's Prayer was recited daily at school, Updike was a lifelong churchgoer influenced by his faith, but not immune to doubts.

Perhaps the topic of discussion is a new reading curriculum.

The reporter is unlikely to hear conversation about little Bessie Jones, a third-grader in Mrs.

"The real America seemed to me 'out there,' too heterogeneous and electrified by now to pose much threat of the provinciality that people used to come to New York to escape," Updike later wrote.

"There were also practical attractions: free parking for my car, public education for my children, a beach to tan my skin on, a church to attend without seeming too strange." (Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.By the end of the 1950s, Updike had published a story collection, a book of poetry and his first novel, "The Poorhouse Fair," soon followed by the first of the Rabbit books, "Rabbit, Run." Praise came so early and so often that New York Times critic Arthur Mizener worried that Updike's "natural talent" was exposing him "from an early age to a great deal of head-turning praise." Updike learned to write about everyday life by, in part, living it.In 1957, he left New York, with its "cultural hassle" and melting pot of "agents and wisenheimers," and settled with his first wife and four kids in Ipswich, Mass, a "rather out-of-the-way town" about 30 miles north of Boston.At the top are words that reach for a higher meaning, words like “freedom” and “literacy.” Beware of the middle, the rungs of the ladder where bureaucracy and public policy lurk. Hayakawa in his 1939 book “Language in Action,” the ladder has been adopted and adapted in hundreds of ways to help people think clearly and express meaning. Concrete is hard, which is why when you fall off the ladder from a high place you might break your leg.In that place, teachers are referred to as “instructional units.” The ladder of abstraction remains one of the most useful models of thinking and writing ever invented. The easiest way to make sense of this tool is to begin with its name: The ladder of abstraction. The first is “ladder,” a specific tool you can see, hold in your hands, and climb. The second word is “abstraction.” You can’t eat it or smell it or measure it. It appeals not to the senses, but to the intellect. An old essay by John Updike begins, “We live in an era of gratuitous inventions and negative improvements.” That language is general and abstract, near the top of the ladder.When we showed the class our 1957 Mickey Mantle baseball card, we were at the bottom of the ladder.When we told the class about what a great season Mickey had in 1956, we started climbing to the top of the ladder, toward the meaning of “greatness.” Let’s imagine an education reporter covering the local school board.He was prolific, even compulsive, releasing more than 50 books in a career that started in the 1950s.Updike won virtually every literary prize, including two Pulitzers, for "Rabbit Is Rich" and "Rabbit at Rest," and two National Book Awards.Plagued from an early age by asthma, psoriasis and a stammer, he found creative outlets in drawing and writing.Updike was born in Reading, Pa., his mother a department store worker who longed to write, his father a high school teacher remembered with sadness and affection in "The Centaur," a novel published in 1964.

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