the ex basketball player by john updike essay

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The poem “The Ex-Basketball Player” simply by John Updike dramatizes the conflict among dreams and reality when it comes to Flick Webb. Flick shows such assurance in his teen years, yet he leads to the pathetic reality of helping out in a car port and playing pinball in a luncheonette. The poem starts with the information of “Pearl Avenue” which usually “bends with all the trolley tracks, and halts, cut off / Before it has a chance to look two blocks…” Pearl Opportunity presents a ticket name connoting a clean, freshness which details the state of Film in high school, his glory days.

The simple fact that the road stops ahead of it will go two obstructs displays the cruel end of Flick’s achievement.

His prosperity ends together with his adolescence; his seemingly confident future becomes a mere wistful memory. By the end of Treasure Avenue rests Berth’s Garage which situates on a corner “facing west”; Flick helps Berth in existence on most times. Facing western world connotes the setting of the sun plus the ending of a day.

It is fitting that Pearl Avenue leads to darkness. Abri have fat and dirt in abundance; this contrasts dramatically with the bright, cleanness of your pearl. The poet’s usage of diction in the first stanza stresses Flick’s riches to rags journey.

The second stanza contains a comparison of the gas pumps Flick works with in the garage towards the players on the basketball group. He “stands tall among the idiot pumps…”; the description of them because “idiot” pumps perhaps demonstrates the mediocre intelligence of basketball players, but since Flick “stands tall” most notable he is obviously of a higher caliber. The poet character the pushes further as humans with “One’s nostrils are two S’s, wonderful eyes /An E and O. ” using the characters of the brand brand as human being characteristics. These types of “team members” remind Film daily of what this individual could have been.

The next stanza covers Flick’s high school greatness and contains the only range where the speaker refers to him self in the first-person. Flick played out for a high school graduation team named “the Wizards”. Wizard means magic and wonder and connotes in this case something too good to be true. Another line says, “He was good; actually the best. In ’46…” while the next line does “He bucketed 300 and eighty points…”. The simple fact that the poet person includes “In ’46” in the first collection hints that Flick is the best only at that period. He strains the fleeting quality of Flick’s success. Flick remains “A region record continue to, ” yet he fails to become more. The speaker pinpoints himself like a spectator to Flick’s surge and fall season when he says, “I noticed him accumulate thirty-eight or forty / In one house game. ” He likewise describes Flick’s hands because “wild birds”. They seem to be untamable, although Flick locates himself caught in a “Webb” from which this individual cannot escape.

In the 4th stanza the reader learns Flick “never discovered a operate, he merely sells gas…”. During secondary school, he centers so much on high school; sure that will be his profession that he neglects to learn other things. The speaker describes Flick’s hands since “fine and nervous within the lug wrench” as though he does not really know what to do with this kind of foreign instrument. His hands feel more comfortable with a field hockey which “loved Flick”. The lug wrench is indifferent to Flick though. This kind of displays the wasting of Flick’s gifted hands on an instrument which would not appreciate all of them.

The sixth and last stanza illustrates the horrible quality of Flick’s time away from operate. He spends his period as Mae’s Luncheonette where speaker identifies him since “Grease-gray and sort of coiled. ” This grayness distinguishes itself through the pearl whiteness of Pearl Avenue and emphasizes how unclean and unfortunate Flick has become since high school. He looks “coiled” and hunched over; this individual has misplaced the self-confidence and lofty height this individual possesses for the court or just around his “team members”. Movie smokes cigars, but he also “nurses lemon phosphates”.

Cigars are for adults, yet he as well drinks soda-like kiddy refreshments like he clings for the past. This individual finds him self in a type of limbo, struggling to move on with no skills and unwilling to quit his past and his expect a career in basketball. Although in high school, people such as the speaker observe Flick enjoy, but now he just provides the “bright applauding divisions / Of Necco Wafers, Nibs, and Juju Beads. ” These snacks happen to be symbols of childhood which in turn Flick is constantly on the look to for fulfillment. Fact comes crashing down on Flick’s dreams, and he will forever remain “The Ex-Basketball Player. “


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