Separating: Marriage and Dinner Table

Topics: Marriage, Short story, Family Pages: 2 (485 words) Published: April 11, 2013
The argument of the confusion of the family brought up by John Updike in his essay, “Separating”, has many strengths seen through the characters themselves and their actions. Updike displays the family of confusion through the use of pathos seen through the characters, disconnection of the family members, and a crumbling down relationship between Richard and Joan.

Updike uses pathos to describe the family as confused and lost to ultimately bring together an understanding of the separation. In John Updike’s essay, “Separating”, an example of these family issues can be seen at the dinner table when Richard and Joan tell the children about the separation, and how John “was not mollified” by the news and how he “[felt] bound to keep the center of the stage” in that he was demanding to know why the parents failed to tell their children that they had problems getting along (421). This shows both weaknesses in Richard and John’s lives in how they are being self-centered. Updike’s appeal to emotion through the characters makes it seem like all the family members have some sort of issue they need addressed and in the end are being conceded.

Another point to make about how the family wasn’t connected enough for their relationship to work out can be seen through the separation of the children and parents. Updike states in his essay how Richard sadly reflects how the oldest child, Judith, was the only child he and Joan “endured together to raise her” and that “the others still had some raising left in them” showing how corrupt and disconnected the family actually was (420). This also shows the reader how Richard wasn’t exactly the fairest dad in showing his other three children the same amount of affection. This also ties in how the father doesn’t have a balanced relationship with Joan and becomes very passive about the idea of separation.

Richard and Joan Maple’s relationship is crumbling down hill into a valley off distrust and dishonesty, which is...
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