Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Murray, Don, 1917-

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of English


Updike; John


The purpose of this study was to determine the philosophical direction of the poetry and fiction of a much discussed contemporary American writer, John Updike. The Updike works considered are his published collections of poetry, The Carpentered Hen and Telephone Poles; three novels, The Poorhouse Fair, Rabbit Run, and The Centaur; and three short story collections, The Same Door, Pigeon Feathers, and Olinger Stories. The conclusion of the study is, briefly, that Updike, though influenced strongly by Protestant Christianity and in lesser degree by the contradictory philosophies of practical Humanism and twentieth century Existentialism, cannot be identified strictly with any of these. Instead, his poetry and fiction reveal that he is a seeker after new understandings of man's relationship to man and to the universe. He recognizes man's philosophical and religious dilemmas but offers no solutions other than an optimistic belief that somewhere within or beyond man's religious heritage, answers can be found. At this stage of his artistic career, John Updike is a searcher for religious concepts adequate for contemporary thinking man.


Includes bibliographical references.


iv, 118 pages




Northern Illinois University

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