John Updike (1932-2009), blessed with multiple talents, prolific inexpression,has been doubtlessly regarded as one of the most industrious, prolific and diverseauthor in the twentieth century. He was born on March 18th, 1932, in Reading,Pennsylvania, the only child of Linda Grace and Wesley Russell Updike, and wasraised in the nearby small town of Shillington. Influenced by his mother whoattempted to become a published writer, young Updike was in want ofbecoming awriter too. Seeing his mother at her desk is one of Updike’s earliest memories. “Iadmired the writer’s equipment, the typewriter eraser, the boxes of clean paper. And Iremember the brown envelopes that stories would go off in—and come back in.”(Barrett 7)As co-valedictorian and class president, Updike graduated successfully fromShillington High School in 1950 and was enrolled by Harvard,with a full scholarship,where, being regarded as a talented and prolific contributor to the Harvard Lampoon,the world’s oldest humor magazine, he soon made a name among his classmates.Beginning as a cartoonist, he later shifted to the area of poetry and magazine. In1954,he graduated from summa cum laude with a degree in English. A year later,with the ambition of being a cartoonist, Updike was enrolled by the University ofOxford. Later, he went back to the United States in which he gained a job in TheNew Yorker, and since then, his professional writing career was launched. As one ofthe most versatile thoughtful and prolific writers of our time, Updike has publishedagreat number of novels, short stories, poetry and literary criticismmore than seventyvolumes in total. His gift for social observation, his love for the sensual world,hisremarkable poetic talent for description and his unerring instinct for the language haswon him considerable honor,two National Book Awards, two Pulitzers, the O.Henry,three National Book Critics Circle Award, the American Book Award, the NationalMedals ofArts and so on.
Apart from the various prizes, Updike presents the American people’svicissitudes amid his text that can be called a ticket to American all around us,especially his famous Rabbit Tetralogy which exhibits the protagonist’s erratic lifeasa successful automobile salesman while an undevout father and irresponsible husband. His fiction mainly focuses on “the subject of the domestic life of Americanmiddle class and its attendant rituals marriage, sex, divorce and children rearing”.(Wolcott283)And Donald Greiner has also noted “ a reader would be hard-pressed toname a contemporary author other than John Updike who is more in tune with theway most Americans live… he probes the crises that sear the humanspirit”.(Greiner74)Various perspectives have been adopted to analyze the novels written by Updike.From the political aspect, Miller who studies the relations between Cold War andUpdike’s writings offers a relatively comprehensive analysis of Updike’s works. Heobserves:By studying Updike’s writing against the background of the flashpoints of ColdWar history, it becomes evident that even the young writer of suburban domesticrealism who initially worked to keep his writing free from overtly politicalcontent was profoundly affected by the early Cold War ideology that pervaded hisworld. (Miller 15)In terms of philosophical issues of Updike’s works, George Hunt asserts that“these three secret things also characterize the predominant fiction”. (Hunt 36) Huntemphasizes Updike’s interest in Karl Barth and Kierkegaard: “My rather lengthyexpositions of the theologies proper to Kierkegaard and Karl Barth are, I believe, anindispensable aid for understanding the spiritual depth and range of Updike’sfiction. ”(Hunt 38)
Chapter one The Ways of White Cultural Hegemony
A. The White’s Gaze: Confining Tristao’s Behaviors
“Gaze” is a way of watching which carries power operation or desire fulfillment(Chen Rong 349) In the novel Brazil, it seems that since protagonist Tristaoconnected with Isabel, he has been