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John Hoyer Updike an American poet, short story writer and a novelist, is said to be one of the most respected, popular and prominent American author of his times. The reason for all that credit is because of his keenness in observing social characteristic and his brilliant prose styles. For over five decades, he has continually written fiction novels outlining the behaviors that are facing middle class people of 60's and 70's.His most famous book is the collection of Rabbit novels that ended up winning awards more than once for the best fiction movies.
In his fiction books, he extensively looks on the American middle Class, where he uses characters that come from such class of people who end up bringing out the crucial themes like religion, death and sex. In most cases he would use the themes together. He states that he loves using middle class people because it is in the middle that both extremes meet and crash and that is still where ambiguity extensively rules. On the theme of religion, in the book 'In the Beauty of the Lilies', he outlines the decline of religion across America by use of characters where, as with the changing environment and styles, these characters become reluctant in matters of faith as well as those around them. The book clearly outlines the way the revolution in 1960s made people think of material things and forget about their faith (Lehmann,7).
Critics by other people who have passion for reading state that, Updike used language itself with a kind of faith mostly outlined in his books 'The Rabbit Series,' 'Henry Bech' and 'Eastwick' resulting to debate theoretically between the reader and the books themselves. Most of Updike work outlines sex with a lot of ubiquity and emphasis. For instance, Rabbit Angstrom in the book 'Rabbit Run' contemplates benefits of having sex with the wife to his friend while her husband is giving sermon.
His work invades the community strongly by mocking the taboos that may make it illegal and the covetous state of men that drive them to adulterous. Updike being honest about it, explains that the taste, texture and sight of ladies' body can be perfect cause of the lustful state of men in middle class. Some critics for instance Edward Champion believe Updike's work, greatly leans on the side of external sexual outline with detailed anatomical information rather than outline of internal emotion when describing sex. Supporting himself, Updike replied he has in a great way favored such imagery to fully explain and make sex real in his writing. He adds that adultery is still another theme that he greatly addresses. This is mostly outlined in the book 'Couples.' His style makes him appear like a person gone through abandonment by his family and a guilty man on infidelity.
Considering the American theme,he mentions it with such a nostalgia mostly touching the point of the middle people in America and there lifestyle. He greatly recognizes and celebrates American wide diversity which makes America unique. In a great way, Updike differentiates and clearly outlines American beauty from what called American the Flat Jane. For the lovely protestant based in his writings and fictions that he shown clearly, it was enlightened continuous as it was unapologetic. For the series of the 'Rabbit', it can be viewed as a perfect confirmation of the outgrowing ordinariness of American way of life. As most of the time he appreciates ordinary Middle Americans, He also shows concern to the decline of the country as sometimes the downward rotation of America disturbed him (Packer,6).
On support of Updike fiction writings on the theme of religion which was being replaced by material possession and still on matters of sex, Adam Gopnik appreciated Updike's great theme of how America attempted to replace the faith gap with physical materials which were products of mass culture. Still he added that religious faith had been triggered by sex and luxurious things and for Updike, his hard work is greatly blessed. This is uncompromised truth of what happened in 60s and 70s
Most of his fiction books outline characteristics that he himself claims he experienced when he was young. Hence he clearly uses his experience to bring out what people of his class faced and went through while growing up in middle class families. Many of his characters showed fear, the same way Updike states to have experienced when young as he did suffer greatly in his youthful age. He clearly outlines that, the fear the middle class people face make everything they commit themselves into feel meaningless ,moreover it brings them close to God. He outlines it the same way it used to happen in real life of those in middle class of 60s and 70s.
On the death theme of people in middle class, it is in a great way brought out in a clear manner. The characters in his books provide a mosaic of reactions to life. This rages from attempts to commit suicide to terror and murder. For instance, in the Rabbit Series, Rabbit Angstrom, seeing the death of his daughter and his weak faith do in a great way demonstrate a religious and real faith presence in Updike's work. And at the end of fiction book 'Rabbit at Rest', Angstrom shows a kind of probability of having faith telling his son before he dies beside his deathbed. This demonstrates how many middle class people realize their mistakes late and regret at the time when they can do nothing about. On the book 'The Centaur,' character Caldwell is afraid of the cancer he has and even he does not have faith religiously. This tries to bring out how many middle class people lose faith when they think God has abandoned them and they are in great problems. There is still outline of unseen terror the same way as how it is experienced by this middle class people.
Updike having been living in New York wrote that his aim was to credit Mundane its lovely due. The best statement that Updike ever made comes from the fiction book 'The Dogwood Tree' where he stated that "blackness is not emptiness, we may skate upon an intense radiance we do not see because we see nothing else. And in fact there is a color, a quiet but tireless goodness that things at rest, like a brick wall or small stone, seem affirm." (Updike 5). From these words they greatly apply to middle men people in that, all they see are loads of problems and they tend see no bright future ahead of them. He goes on and encourages them by telling them there is still hope and they are not different in any way from first class people in America. This is a fact as with hard work many people has moved from middle class to first class and even to greatest people in the world, Updike being one of them.
Many great writers has in a great way appreciated the way Updike's work and his style of bringing out themes involving matters concerning middle class people in a well hidden way and full of humor and encouragement. This make his books still be preferred as favorite to today's youth even if time has passed upon them. One of this writers is Robert B silver an editor of New York Reviews of Books where he said," Updike is one of the most elegant and tactfully observant writers of his generation" (Madeline,5)
It is with no doubt that John Updike is one of the greatest writers that ever lived. His work is full of great themes that needed to be outlined as they occurred to middle level people, outlining mostly the problems that they faced. In a great way, his unique style of writing makes his book not run out of date as still now they end up being unique in their own ways. In an honorable manner his name and work will be remembered and the history of the problems faced by middle class people of 60s and 70s will remain in books for future generations in a way they will find it interesting to read it as it is in stories form. He portrayed American middle level people as people facing many problems, losing faith, greatly endorsed in sex and facing no bright future due to many problems they had.