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What internal conflicts exist in "Separating" by John Updike?

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The internal conflict that exists at Updike's "Separating" rests with the struggle of Richard to do the right thing as he and his wife prepare to tell their children they will be separating.

Richard wanted to tell everyone at once, but Joan did not. Richard's conflict at the start is pretending that everything is just as it's always been—while it is totally untrue.

So he had drudged away, in love, in dread, repairing screens, getting the mowers sharpened, rolling and patching their new tennis court.

Richard is also conflicted by Joan's plan: to start with Judith and then tell the others. However, he feels that something is off with the plan:

...it had an edge of false order...like Joan's long chore lists...

It is inferred that there is something contrived in the telling—something less than forthright, and manipulative. In carrying it out, Richard also feels that it makes the separation that much harder for him:

Her plan turned one hurdle for him into four—four knife-sharp walls, each...

(The entire section contains 596 words.)

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