The Maples Updike Analysis

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The Maples are getting a divorce, but can’t agree on the right time to tell their children and how to go about telling them. Eventually they decide to tell the news upon arrival of their oldest child, Judith. Richard Maple, the father, wants to make an announcement at dinner, while the mother, Joan, prefers to tell the children individually. After debate, they agree that Joan’s way is better. That night when Joan returned from her trip, the Maples enjoy a dinner of lobster and champagne to welcome her back. Richard realize he is “at a table where he sat the last time as head” and begins to cry as the children try to ignore his tears. Eventually their second youngest child, John, asks his mother why the father is crying. It is then, that the …show more content…

Because of the theme, the overall mood of the story can best be categorized as somewhat confusing. The tones present throughout the story are contrasting. In the beginning, the tone starts off very bright and happy like as Updikes describes the summer before “as canary-yellow bulldozer gaily churned a grassy, daily-dotted knoll into a muddy plateau”. Following, reality of the physical state of the tennis court now, “crumbling of handfuls of clay into cracks and hole”, Updike introduces the ominous tone present throughout majority of the remaining story. Supporting this tone are the many clear, descriptive symbols present such as “the old lock, aluminum frozen by corrosion” and the description of his skull “a white face, both frightening and soothing that wanted to shield from tears”. The tone is altered towards the end once Richard starts crying and majority of his kids are accepting to them separating. Less ominous, the tone is more sympathetic and reassuring. The vocabulary choice aides the understanding of the Maples internal conflicts that their marriage is experiencing and that they have to face while trying to come to an agreement, without causing a confusion to their family. Also the languages, mainly gloomy and depressing contribute greatly. Concluding, the contrasting tone supports the struggles that come with a marriage, the emotional ups and down and the tough decision of

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