Pride In John Updike’s During The Jurassic

1260 words - 5 pages

Pride in John Updike’s During the Jurassic

Though John Updike focuses on the Mesozoic in his short story During the Jurassic, the commentary he intertwines with the plot is undoubtedly drawn out of our modern society. Rather than phrasing broad societal concepts in mundane modern terms, however, Updike carefully constructs a Jurassic world in which mankind's sin of pride, as well as our inevitable fall, are reflected through the dinosaur's passion for immensity and their rapidly approaching extinction.

The first key to unlocking Updike's rather carefully hidden commentary is to understand the relationship of the story to our society. Though the Jurassic world has seemingly few corollaries with the modern world, Updike uses one of the most mundane facets of modernity -- the dinner party --to fuse both genres into a somewhat humorous, but ultimately disturbing, juxtaposition. Infused into the volcanic landscape of the Jurassic world are the themes of jealousy, adultery, hatred, and falsity -- hallmarks of the 20th century -- which are made even more disturbing by their placement against the primitive world of the dinosaurs.

The Jurassic environment that Updike constructs in his short tale invites interpretation. First, the majority of the dinosaurs described were found, as one would expect, in the middle to late Jurassic period. By the Cretaceous period, the era that followed the Jurassic, these species had largely faded into obscurity, replaced by huge sauropods. Indeed, the only species in Updike's tale that falls into this class of Cretaceous sauropods are the brontosaurus and the diplodocus, both of which are held in high regard by the narrator. One can clearly infer from this evidence that, though Updike titles his work During the Jurassic, the tension that drives the plot originates at least in part in this transition to a new, more advanced era. Thus, when the iguanodon passionately desires the brontosaurus, and thus her huge size and sophistication, he is in a sense hungering after the future; his desire is directed not at the brontosaurus, but at the evolutionary superiority that she embodies.

Additionally, one can draw a great deal of meaning from the other dinosaurs Updike chooses for his characters. The iguanodon and his wife, a compsognathus, differ ludicrously in size; an average iguanodon measured ten meters from snout to tail, whereas a compsognathus measured only seventy centimeters. This parity in size serves to emphasize the iguanodon's desire for the brontosaurus and, clearly, his jealousy of the diplodocus. The dinner guests are further representations of the iguanodon's struggle with his rapidly approaching extinction. The stegosauri, due to their extremely small brain cavity, are considered to be among the least intelligent of the Jurassic dinosaurs. Indeed, the iguanodon considers that "among their many stupid friends these were the most stupid" (Updike 195). The iguanodon further describes them as...

Find Another Essay On Pride in John Updike’s During the Jurassic

President John F. Kennedy and the sickness and pain he endured during his time in office.

2815 words - 11 pages thing or not? John F. Kennedy, our thirty-fifth President, was intelligent, good looking, but his health was questionable at best. John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts on May 29, 1917.John suffered the normal childhood diseases like whooping cough, measles, and chicken pox. Trouble started just before his third birthday, when he contracted a case of scarlet fever. Scarlet fever was highly contagious and could be

False Pride in The Necklace Essay

510 words - 2 pages her and her husband wer invited to a fancy ball, she couldn't stand the thought of looking simple. She would be ashamed if she couldn't at least look equal to the other women at the ball.True pride comes from self respect or satisfaction in achievement. Mme Loisel's only pride came from her physical appearance. She also had always wanted to gain pride through having material possesions. Her sense of self-importance at the ball was essentially

The roles of pride and prejudice in Pride and Prejudice

1413 words - 6 pages Becoming an immediate success in the contemporary novel public in early nineteenth century, Pride and Prejudice has proved to be the most popular of Jane Austen's novels and remains a classic masterpiece two centuries later. The title itself describes the underlying theme of the book. Pride and prejudice, intimately related in the novel, serve as challenges to the cherished love story of Darcy and Elizabeth. It is interesting to see how these

Captain John Paul Jones a Leader During the Revolutionary War

1555 words - 6 pages Captain John Paul Jones was an officer in the Continental Navy during the Revolutionary War. Despite difficulties with inexperienced sailors, other captains, and his superiors he was successful in many battles and in contributing to traditions still held in the United States Navy. Most importantly, Captain Jones through his leadership, courage, and persistence, from 1775 to 1789, became the father of the American Navy and contributed to

Langston Hughes, Prolific Writer Of Black Pride During The Harlem Renaissance

1665 words - 7 pages ). Blacks had to fight for their rights because it wasn’t handed to them. Racism manifested itself on many levels and had to be fought on many levels. This gave rise to influential black leaders in the fight for civil rights. Langston Hughes was one of those black leaders who arose during the Harlem Renaissance. He gave his people a voice and encouraged pride and hope through his literary work, to overcome racial discrimination. Langston Hughes

Pride as a Crime in the Crucible

920 words - 4 pages Many people take much pride in numerous things some being: their job, family, political views, even as much as in their favorite sport. People make mistakes big and small, but it is how one deals with the situation and the mistake, that shows the morality in a person, and shows who he or she may be. “The only crime is pride,” Sophocles, is still held to be true; for instance, pride itself can cloud a persons’ mind and caused him or her to commit

The Meryton Ball in Pride and Prejudice

884 words - 4 pages Pride and Prejudice How significant is the first ball to the rest of the novel? During the Meryton ball we meet all of the major and most important characters of the novel. We have already met the protagonist in previous chapters. During the ball, we get to understand Elizabeth’s character a bit more and her attitude towards others in different circumstances, situations and environments. Elizabeth is lively, intelligent, witty and

The couples in Pride and Prejudice

1384 words - 6 pages different reasons Austen's major theme discussed during the text is marriage. Many messages are put forward to readers as to what an ideal reason for marriage is like. For instance, Elizabeth and Darcy marry for love and interests. Jane and Bingley marry for love and attractions. Charlotte and Mr. Collins marry for convenience. Lydia and Wickham marry for their desire, attractions and financial reasons, while Mr. and Mrs Bennett marry for necessity . This is established in Jane Austen's novel, Pride and Prejudice.

The Male Characters in "Pride and Prejudice"

2421 words - 10 pages Jane Austen has a great talent for developing her characters into what she envisions. Jane Austen’s effective use of character development is best displayed by the male characters in Pride and Prejudice, where the male characters are not what they first appear to the reader. Mr. Wickham, who first appears to be prince charming, ends up almost the exact opposite. Mr. Bingley, who is initially shy but friendly, grows in his confidence, courage

The Presence of Pride in Arthur Miller's The Crucible

671 words - 3 pages The Presence of Pride in Arthur Miller's "The Crucible"In Miller's "The Crucible" the pride of the people of Salem leads to a massacre of innocent lives. Pride is delight or elation arising from some act, possession, or relationship. One of the main characters, John Proctor, has pride in his beliefs of purifying the Church of England. His wife, Elizabeth, has pride in her ability to use the trials as an ultimate revenge against Abigail Williams

The Role of Pride in Sophocles' Oedipus the King

991 words - 4 pages “Oh my children, the new blood of ancient Thebes, why are you here?” said Oedipus when addressing his people during his first appearance (1-2). Flamboyant, yes, well in Oedipus the King, the main character Oedipus is a boastful and pompous character faced with troublesome pasts and future predicaments. In actuality, he is king of Thebes and the rightful ruler, but when a plague strikes he is quickly led into a misfortune of events that

Similar Essays

Descriptive Language In John Updike’s A & P And Anton Chekhov’s The Lady With The Dog

1734 words - 7 pages with less colorful wording.  For example, one can take certain exemplary samples from two different stories, John Updike’s “A & P” and Anton Chekhov’s “The Lady with the Dog” and dull down the language, to state it in a more factual manner, completely taking away any scenery the author so brilliantly created. In doing so, it will allow insight into the intricately employed craft, mechanics, and descriptive wording within the stories. John

John Updike’s A & P, Richard Wright’s The Man Who Was Almost A Man, And James Joyce’s Araby

1296 words - 5 pages John Updike’s “A & P,” Richard Wright’s “The Man Who Was Almost a Man,” and James Joyce’s “Araby” Stories about youth and the transition from that stage of life into adulthood form a very solidly populated segment of literature. In three such stories, John Updike’s “A & P,” Richard Wright’s “The Man Who Was Almost a Man,” and James Joyce’s “Araby”, young men face their transitions into adulthood. Each of these boys faces a different element

Independence In Updike’s A&P And Welty’s Why I Live At The P.O.

1282 words - 5 pages Why do many strive to become independent or just do something bigger in life? With Updike’s “A&P” and Welty’s “Why I Live at the P.O.”, we get a first person look into two similar but different people’s lives and struggles. In “Why I Live at the P.O.” sister is the main character and the narrator. The same is for “A&P” but Sammy is the main character and narrator. Sammy and Sister throughout the stories battle with their want of being

Pride In The Crucible Essay

721 words - 3 pages The Presence of Pride in Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" In Miller's "The Crucible" the pride of the people of Salem leads to a massacre of innocent lives. Pride is delight or elation arising from some act, possession, or relationship. One of the main characters, John Proctor, has pride in his beliefs of purifying the Church of England. His wife, Elizabeth, has pride in her ability to use the trials as an ultimate revenge against Abigail