This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

John Updike: Views On Sex And Religion Reflected In His Writings

1309 words - 5 pages

John Updike is unarguably one of the greatest writers in American history. His writing was famous for capturing the pain, joy, energy, and despair of being an ordinary person. Updike was intentional in writing about ordinary people as his focus was to write to middle-class American suburbia. His various works are artistically saturated with wit, intelligence, theological ideas, and sexual behavior. The website Academy of Achievement explains this thought by writing, “In an autobiographical essay, Updike famously identified sex, art, and religion as "the three great secret things" in human experience.” (AA). So, what made his works standout over other writing with spiritual and sexual overtones? Mr. Updike unapologetically injected the carnal sexual proclivities of his characters while also intermingling Protestant Christian theological paradigms. As a result, his readers were captivated by the proverbial tension of moral and spiritual duplicity.
John Updike was born in Reading, Pennsylvania in 1932. Later in life he would develop an affinity for providing the setting for many of his stories in the areas neighboring Reading (AA). Mr. Updike wrote affectionately about American life with an attitude of respect for its diversity. As mentioned earlier he enjoyed writing about people that were easily understood by middle-class Americans. His patriotism and religion formed a relationship with the common life experience of average Americans. His earliest aspiration was to become a cartoonist and later he desired to be a poet. He wrote many popular short stories however; his most celebrated works are among his novels.
Mr. Updike was a religious man with a Protestant perspective on his Christian faith. He also made a habit of attending church regularly. His Christian faith and theological beliefs greatly influenced many of his works, including popular novels such as Rabbit, Run, Rabbit Redux, Rabbit is Rich, Roger’s Version, Couples, and In the Beauty of the Lilies. His 1968 novel “Couples” contained explicit descriptions of sex among a group of ten promiscuous couples. The work proved to be controversial, provoking an appearance on the cover of Time magazine and remains one of his top selling books. This novel points to a hedonistic view of religion analogous to ancient Greek mythology among an American Protestant community. His readers will experience this cyclical pattern of lasciviousness among religious trepidation throughout the breadth of his writing career.
With this in mind it is essential to appreciate that Mr. Updike is purposely reticent to express his personal convictions but rather creates environments where his characters are continually conciliating with their own moral impasses. Author Bernard Schopen acknowledges this when writing, “Updike has said that the central theme of each of his novels is ‘meant to be a moral dilemma,’ and that his books are intended as ‘moral debates with the reader.’(523)....

Find Another Essay On John Updike: Views on Sex and Religion Reflected in his Writings

The Biography of An American Hero: John F. Kennedy. Discuss his political views and national effects on the US Government

1126 words - 5 pages John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the President of the USA and was assassinated in Dallas, 1963. There has been a cloud over the truth since the assassination because the report issued by the Warren Commission did not necessarily have all the correct facts. Lee Harvey Oswald was convicted of Kennedy's murder and it was accepted that he acted alone, although there is evidence that contradicts this. Cuban Intelligence on behalf of Fidel Castro could

In John Donne's poetry, the craft of poetry, sex and religion are intertwined. Discuss with reference to three of Donne's poems

2290 words - 9 pages Born into the Christian religion of Catholicism, John Donne converted to Anglicanism in midlife and as a result; it is unsurprising to find that a large amount of his poetry is devoted to religion and his relationship with god. However, upon examination of his works, we can discern that his relationship with God is intertwined with his relationships, both real and desired, with sex . To begin to examine Donne's works, we must first unpack his

Sima Qian’s Life Events and Intelligence Reflected on his Works

1982 words - 8 pages Qian’s works are still highly rated and are used in literary and historical textbooks. His works are valued even today, since his works cover the historical figures, which were not covered by the writers before then, and also uses literary techniques that have been used from then on. Looking at his works, one can explore the individuals that were not given spotlights at the time, such as Jing Ke, Bo Yi and Shu Qi, who have failed at their tasks or

Society’s Liberal and Conservative Views on Religion

1611 words - 7 pages have traditional views regarding topics like homosexuality. There are currently 82 countries where homosexuality is illegal. As of today, only sixteen countries have legalized same-sex marriage, mainly being in Europe and North and South America, where freedom in on a regional basis. In many ways, these modern ideas are very much like the ideas of Paine and his ideas of why should we be told how to live our lives by laws created hundreds of years

Human Nature and its views on religion

478 words - 2 pages but not without question. Personally, I hold this type of religious faith to be most common in todays' society. As an example, I will use my own belief. I believe in God and thus I have faith; however, I do have questions about God and his teachings. I pray yet I do not attend church nor do I pertain to a specific religion. I believe that because religion is nothing more than someone's interpretation of the bible or other sacred book of teachings

The Life and Times of John Updike

1496 words - 6 pages Literary Research- The Life and Times John Updike’s life is reflected in his works through family, experiences and religious events. John Updike was born on March 18, 1932 in Reading, Pennsylvania. He was an only child of Wesely and Grace Updike. He was raised in nearby small town of Shillington. His father was a high school science teacher and his mother was an aspiring writer. In her fifties, some of Mrs. Updike’s short stories were

Plato and his views on Rome

1844 words - 7 pages beliefs on religion. The Greco-Roman Gods and Goddesses were all Rome had known since it's start. However, when Christianity is introduced and it started to gain followers the citizens refocused their goodness onto Christ. "...in the second and third centuries, an increasing number of followers came from Latin-speaking people" (Spielvogel 172). Many other Latin writers would support Plato's ideas of goodness. For example, Saint Augustine says, "...two

T.S. Eliot and his Views on Life

1016 words - 5 pages not much knowledge about the poet and his or her writing style. Or what was going on in that time era and the lifestyle and struggles back then. However, most poets always have something within simple words that become much more complex in the end when the real meaning of the poem is found by the reader. Although as mentioned sometimes these messages are more difficult to depict sometimes they are not. The Hollow Men by T.S. Eliot is a poem of

"Claudius and Gertrude" by John Updike

559 words - 2 pages "Claudius and Gertrude", by John Updike, is a prelude to Hamlet. It starts with a short overview of Gertrude’s childhood. However, her name was Gerthude, the name from the original Latin text of the ancient Hamlet legend from the “Historia Danica of Saxo Grammaticus.” Other names are changed as well. Claudius is named Feng, Hamlet is Amleth, and Polonius is Corambus.Gertrude as a child was married off unwillingly at the age of 17

Worldwide Views On Religion

1640 words - 7 pages will disagree and render a different opinion. Moreover, it is their prerogative to disagree with their own opinion and fashion a new one. All the same, we know better than to say religion is just opinion. If we ask someone point blank what their opinion is, they will instinctively ask to narrow down the question, “On what?” What if in that moment we define the interrogative by broadening it, “What is your opinion on everything?” The sum of all

Sociologist Views On Religion

905 words - 4 pages services etc. and so on. It is very hard to find the typical definition of religions because different people define religion in different way. It depends upon people perceptions and spiritual beliefs. No one is familiar with the origin of religions, it is uncertain although there are lots of scholars trying to show how religion evolved in the world. Religion is related to both beliefs and practices and supernatural way of living a life. The religion

Similar Essays

The Life And Writings Of John Updike

1406 words - 6 pages stories, and poems that were never published. The main themes that John Updike wrote in his books are religion, sex, America, and death. Also, the theme is on the middle-class experiences. In Updike's fiction, it circles mainly around the problem of faith and morality in the modern, the post-Christian world, and the pointing toward the necessity of transcendental belief. It was said that “Updike’s writing became sexier as well as more sexually

Sex In "Rabbit Redux" By John Updike

1403 words - 6 pages The return to John Updike's famous character Harry Angstrom, better known as Rabbit, occurs after a gap of ten years from the previous book. Rabbit, now definitely past his prime, has lost his athleticism, his sex life, and the excitement he once sought. Sex is a very central subject in Rabbit Redux; the book's main conflict occurs around it, and the characters often reflect on it. For each, sex means something unique, and the feeling associated

Frederick Douglass' Writings. Reflected Many American Views That Were Influenced

1844 words - 7 pages Frederick Douglass's writings reflected many American views that were influencedby national division. Douglass was a very successful abolitionist who changed America'sviews of slavery through his writings and actions. Frederick Douglass had manyachievements throughout his life. Douglass was born a slave in 1817, in Maryland. Heeducated himself and became determined to escape the atrocities of slavery. Douglassattempted to escape slavery once

Views Of Women In The Necklace By Guy De Maupassant A&P By John Updike

1138 words - 5 pages Views of Women in The Necklace by Guy De Maupassant A&P by John Updike "The Necklace" by Guy De Maupassant, and "A&P" by John Updike were written in two different centuries by two authors of very different backgrounds. However, each story expresses very similar views about women. The women in these stories are self-centered creatures who control men with their sexuality, and end up damaging the men's life. The main character in "The