English November 26, 2011 The Theme of Fame in “Ex-Basketball Player” by John Updike Fame is like a river that beareth up things light and swollen, and drowns things weighty and solid (Francis Bacon). Fame is a fickle thing and this theme is convincingly portrayed in John Updike’s poem “Ex- Basketball player.” The poem is probably one of the most popular American poems of the 20th century…
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The poem explores the other side of fame and the downside of losing tracks of a big shot career. The protagonist’s failure and mediocrity as he experienced the pinnacle of his life at far too young an age is portrayed by strong characterization, use of symbolism and imagery to raise the theme about the harsh reality of what real fame can be in terms of sustaining it. The poem sends out a message that if one is sidetracked by the fame and does not work on his goals, it is not possible to reach his dreams. “The ball loved Flick” (Updike) and “he was the best” (Updike) this clearly mentions that Flick used to be a local hero and that the entire town looks upon his past with a sort of admiration as well as pride. Flick did not exactly make it big but he did make it big enough to be remembered by his peers. There is a sense of sorrow in the eyes of the townspeople, as if they are mourning the lost talent. Flick’s talent was realized but was never pursued. ...
It straightforwardly tells us that Flick now works at “Berth’s Garage” (Updike) and that he does not have a “chance to go two blocks” from his former high school. From the first stanza we can concluded that Flick is a failure who ended up working in a garage. His attachment to his old school is also very strong as he does not want to be very far from his old school where he had been celebrated as a hero. The description of his job indicates that Flick is doing a job which is less suited for him with no potential to move up in life. The poem does not have any rhyming scheme or a consistent meter. Throughout the poem, the author uses a free verse. This is effective in conveying the message and reminders amongst the young readers. The author uses simple language to express himself and to convey the message about the importance of learning a trade and honing your skills to make it out in the real world. High school may be the place where we are a star, but there is life outside high school where one needs to survive. Without real skills it is tough to survive in the real world and this is what the poem tries to convey. One needs to work hard to achieve his goals as there is no place in this word for the lazy people. Even though we may be gifted with a special talent, we cannot expect the gift to nurture itself, it is our responsibility to hone our skills. The author tries to convince us using a simple language and a simple example about the fact of life and how it is our responsibility to make use of our talent by not wasting it. Flick wasted his talents by not learning the trade and therefore he ended up doing a minimal monotonous job without any prospect of moving forward in life. In an interview, the
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(Ex-Basketball Player Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 2250 Words)
“Ex-Basketball Player Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 2250 Words”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/english/1436912-papers-on-ex-basketball-player.
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