John Updike Discussion Topics

Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

What is the initiation process like for John Updike’s protagonists? What do they learn while growing up? What epiphanies do they experience?

How does the family function as a unit in an Updike work? Do individuals find support in their families, conflict, or both?

What are the characteristics of Updike’s use of language? Is his style poetic? Metaphorical? Lyrical? Dense? Abstract?

How does Updike characterize contemporary American society in his stories and novels? What is the American Dream like in his fiction, and how easy is it to reach?

What is the state of marriage in Updike’s works? Are couples happy and fulfilled, or constrained andunsatisfied?

Updike has been called the foremost chronicler of the mores of Middle America. What is the portrait that emerges from his accounts?