The Slump Topics for Further Study
by John Updike

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Topics for Further Study

(Short Stories for Students)

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• Research the philosophical theories of Søren Kierkegaard, and then write a letter from Kierkegaard, giving batting advice to this baseball player.

• Study the batting statistics from the most recent season and find a batter who experienced a significant batting slump. Read newspaper reports on the batter, and write your own report on how long it lasted, the theories about what caused it, and what might have finally ended it.

• This ballplayer’s wife’s trying to startle him with a gorilla mask is reminiscent of the sort of practical jokes that baseball players are famous for. Find out about some famous pranks, and share them with your class.

• Read the 1888 poem ‘‘Casey at the Bat,’’ by Ernest L. Thayer. Compare specific lines from that poem with the experience the narrator of this story describes.