In John Updike's "Ex-Basketball Player," Pearl Avenue is described as a very short street that is cut off prematurely before reaching the garage. The speaker writes,
Pearl Avenue runs past the high-school lot,
Bends with the trolley tracks, and stops, cut off
Before it has a chance to go two blocks,
At Colonel McComsky Plaza. (lines 1-4)
This opening description of the street foreshadows the fate of the titular athlete, Flick Webb. He was apparently a phenomenal basketball player when he was young. The speaker even describes him as "the best" and as a county record holder in scoring points in a season. However, Flick now "just sells gas, / Checks oil, and changes flats" (19-20). The word "just" conveys the...
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