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Lecture 9

ENG 1120 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: John Updike, Irony

Course Code
ENG 1120
Breid Mc Ilkenny

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A & P
February 12, 2016
John Updike, 1932 – 2009
- Born in Pennsylvania to a teacher (father) and a writer (mother)
- Common themes:
The middle class
Marriage and fidelity
Family responsibilities
The sacredness of human life
- Described as a gentle satirist
- Wanted the reader to engage with the work & the characters
A & P
- First published in the New Yorker, in 1961
- Themes:
Aesthetic vision vs. realism
Fantasy vs. reality
- Stylistic elements:
Colloquial but reflective style
Use of dramatic irony
- Skaz: comes from the Russian ‘skazat’, or to tell
Imitates spontaneous oral
- Are the three girls representative of Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus”
Similarities between the descriptions of the girls (especially Queenie) in the story,
and the painting
- The three girls = the three fates that will change Sammy’s life
- Sammy is very disparaging about the older generation
The ‘old witch’ at his checkout, the ‘sheep’ with their carts
Immature in his perspective (lack of empathy)
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