The Centaur Poem Essay

The Centaur Poem Essay-86
seemed his truest and liveliest book, a book which he was prompted to write in order to publicize the myth of Chiron, one of the few instances of self-sacrifice from the classical world.

seemed his truest and liveliest book, a book which he was prompted to write in order to publicize the myth of Chiron, one of the few instances of self-sacrifice from the classical world.The novel contains an interesting, if at times rather disturbing, mixture of classical figures amid a realistic setting.Peter tells of his self-conscious adolescence, growing up an only child, living on a farm with his parents and Pop Kramer, his grandfather.

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The summer that I was ten -- Can it be there was only one summer that I was ten?

It must have been a long one then -- each day I'd go out to choose a fresh horse from my stable which was a willow grove down by the old canal. But when, with my brother's jack-knife, I had cut me a long limber horse with a good thick knob for a head, and peeled him slick and clean except a few leaves for the tail, and cinched my brother's belt around his head for a rein, I'd straddle and canter him fast up the grass bank to the path, trot along in the lovely dust that talcumed over his hoofs, hiding my toes, and turning his feet to swift half-moons.

Peter has developed a severe fever, so he stays home the next day as George goes through the snow to school, realizing that his fate is not to die, but to live.

Peter is remembering these events fifteen years later, and the reader realizes that they were not just ordinary trials of a schoolteacher and his son, but crucial experiences in one boy’s undertaking the universal task of finding one’s father—and one’s own identity.

(The entire section is 431 words.) draws heavily upon Updike’s experiences growing up in Shillington, Pennsylvania, and pays homage to his father.

In many ways, the novel is Updike’s most complex work, involving an interweaving of the myth of Chiron the centaur with the story of an adolescent boy and his father in the winter of 1947.

On a mythic level, the father is depicted as Chiron the centaur, part man and part stallion, who serves as mentor to youthful Greek heroes. Schiff provides commentary on works that have largely been ignored by the public as well as books that have received little critical attention. Using the principles of Jacques Lacan, Sethuraman examines the Oedipal motivations of the main characters, who seem to be attracted to death wishes. A revealing portrait of Updike’s background and personality; his views on life, sex, politics, and religion; and his evolution as a writer.

Chiron’s life is sacrificial—he suffers for his charges, just as Peter’s father suffered for (and often from) his students. The conflict between George, the father, and Peter, the son, show that both have failed to incorporate the Other into their personalities.

The novel is part , a novel of an artist seeking his identity in conflict with society or with his past.

The nine chapters of the novel emerge as a collage, a narrative appropriate for the painter-narrator.


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