John Updike Essay Research Paper
Men and women have depended on each other forever. The unique bond between the male and female is often discussed through literature. John Updike examines male freedom as a myth. Through his writing John Updike shows a man?s need of women.
In the novel ?Marry Me? by John Updike an ordinary suburban love affair is illustrated. Jerry is a man engulfed by self-hatred as well as raging anger. Sally his mistress is a depressed and confused woman lacking self-confidence. Jerry is in a marriage with Ruth but it is by name only. The true elements of love passion and pure sexual appetite are only exhibited through the love affair Jerry is having with Sally.
Men are the focus of John Updike?s literature. Using male characters allows Updike to open up a feminized world. The men in Updike?s novels are victims of forces which only the reader understands but the character does not.
Women are usually the only masculine pursuit in John Updike?s novels that offer the promise of relief. Jerry lives in a typical Connecticut suburb. His home lacks the usual male obsession of both work and sports. Jerry?s only urge for advancement was for money purposes.
Unlike the traditional love triangle which leaves two men fighting for one woman Updike puts Ruth and Sally in competition for one man. John Updike provides the character assessment of Jerry to be one of a man with boyish hope for pure love with the ?perfect? woman and his underlying wants and needs to love as well as his helplessness to understand his own complicated life.
In numerous pieces of John Updike?s literature when the male character finds the woman of their dreams he will eventually begin to hate her. Jerry conquers Sally and overpowers her concerns for her small children her marriage as well as her devotion to family and her financial security. However he is extremely unwilling to change but in the same way unable to remain the same man. He knows what he desires in a woman. Jerry wants a warm woman yet he stays with a cold woman. Ruth (Jerry?s wife) keeps both his anger and contempt alive but he still stays with her. He looks in turn to his mistress Sally to give him strength and encouragement. However by sally giving Jerry the support he will truly craves she allows him to become frustrated and angry at her for threatening to demolish the hatred which binds him to Ruth forever. By acting in this confusing manner Jerry is pushing Sally away. His dependency on both women is typical of the male characters throughout john Updikes? literature.
Jerry remains helpless before his need to wound. He is so passive and indecisive that he tries to put Ruth and Sally at odds. Through doing this he removes himself from any responsibility. They also compete to see which woman?s love will ultimately win the game and receive Jerry as their prize. And all the while this is occurring Jerry is reveling in the fact that both women are mothering him while this fight goes on for him. Jerry wants to be able to think well of himself and let the women become the root of the ongoing problem.
Sex is also a very prevalent part in the novel? Marry Me?. John Updike uses sex in his literature to free men to do other things but in turn deeply bind women to the men they make love to. Especially in the case of Jerry and Sally the man wants to please the woman however he can not do so due to the problem that what she is yearning for is marriage and a stable life with the love of her life. As Sally watches Jerry leave the bed and prepare for the day only to dash out to play the role of another man in his public life; she feels lonely and left behind almost forgotten.
Jerry in return to his uncertain future was overwhelmed with a sense of death anxiety. This reflects his fear of being punished for the damage and betrayal he is inflicting on both his wife and his mistress.
Jerry staggers throughout his life unable to come to terms with what each of the women in his life need and want. In order to avoid his predicament. Jerry looks past the pain of each woman and instead focuses on his own personal sexual anger. As Ruth and Sally nurture Jerry he blames them rather than himself for the turmoil his life is in. Jerry spectacularly manages to overlook the disaster surrounding him which is his life. In order to handle what is unfolding all around him Jerry separates himself from Sally at points and forces himself not to see the woman he makes love to and carries on an intimate affair with. ? In sex Sally?s face is a mirror held inches below his own face a mirror of love more than another person. He asked himself who this was and then he remembered it was Sally.? Jerry like many of John Updike?s other characters is so pre-occupied and obsessed with their objective. This objective is depending on the women in order to escape as much responsibility and self-disapproval as possible.
The novel ?Marry Me? examines a confused and complex man his wants his needs and his child-like faith in the mystery and magic of a woman. It exhibits a mans dependency on women and his lack of control over his own life.
Another piece of literature written by John Updike which examines the male tendency to be dependent on women is ?Rabbit Run?.
Rabbit Angston is a working-class man. As a basketball star throughout his high school career and Rabbit was praised and recognized as a leader. At age twenty-sex he realized the hatred he had for his humiliating job. He recognized the disappointment he sees in the eyes of his pregnant wife and their toddler son. Rabbit knows the sense of exaltation he felt in high school had long passed. Rabbit decides to escape the pressure and responsibilities his problems have brought about and he runs away.
At age thirty-six Rabbit returned home. He had become a hard working lino-typer as well as a husband and a father. He has begun to model himself after his own father. He has become passive and joyless.
However times have begun to change. Rabbits? wife Janice is now making an income of her own and has also found a new man to replace the bond she and Rabbit had once shared. Janice had become independent leaving Rabbit not only alone but confused.
Rabbit and Janice are a mis-matched pair whose aggravation with each other is miserable however it is absolutely crucial. Neither Janice nor Rabbit is happy with each other yet the presence of her husband helps Janice function and the presence of his wife helps Rabbit behave like a man. Janice is the control of Rabbits? anger and self-hatred.