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Word Count: 979
In everyones life there will be peaks and valleys What happens when a boy peaks before he has even had the chance to be a man Can he be content to live in his remembrances of the past even though he seemingly has no future John Updikes poem Ex-Basketball Player suggests that whether happy or not both the man and the town he lives in need those remembrances They need them so much in fact that the man and town become dependant on each other for reaffirmation of the pastThe poem is built around the character Flick Webb who was a highschool basketball star but is now confined to the monotony of pumping gas the small town where he was born and raised Updike does not take an obvious good or bad stance on Flicks situation but rather uses imagery to portray a dark dingy world of the present and contrast it with the bright shining glory of Flicks pastThe imagery is evident in the first two lines of the poem where Pearl Avenue bends with the trolley tracks and stops cut off 2 Already we see that Flicks future has been cut short like the very road that leads to Berths Garage where he pumps gas In fact the train even passes by the very high school Flick attended Like Flick though the train passes the high school it does not go far beyond The words cut off are the key to understanding Flicks situation Abruptly his course was changed Without warning his stardom was exchanged for mediocrity A highschool basketball stars glory days were cut off by the striking reality that he as the poem suggests never learned a trade 19In the poems next stanza it becomes obvious that Flick is out of place amongst the idiot pumps 7 with their rubber elbows hanging loose and low 9 The imagery suggests that these inanimate objects are as close as Flick comes to any
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