You only have to teach literature to realize that most young readers are poor noticers.
James Wood, How Fiction Works
Show James Wood what’s what. In your response, briefly discuss 7 – 10 of Updike’s details from the Rabbit at Rest excerpt. Over the course of your response (i.e., not for each detail), employ at least five of the terms and concepts Wood explores, including but not limited to:
- thisness: abstraction and palpability
- the enrichment of observation
- overaesthetic appreciation
- off-duty vs. on-duty detail
- co-creation of character
Separately, keep a close eye on how Updike’s characters fight, on the skirmish nature of their conversations in the context of the broader war of their family relationships. Notice what’s unsaid and yet speaks loudly. Compare Updike’s rendering of repression, labored patience, barely controlled fury, and passive aggression with Franzen’s. You don’t have to write about this, but keep it in mind as you read – it will help with this and next week’s writing assignment, and we’ll talk about it Tuesday.