A Geographical Tour of Literary America

The Grand Tour of Literary Landmarks resulted from my students' success with another project that we called "Poetic License with THE AMAZING RACE." This new journey also begins and ends in my students' hometown. Chosen writers are specific to our curriculum and texts; however, teachers can adapt new selections to their students' needs. Side images are their original work. Photo images at each destination go directly to official sites or to the slideshows of my own travel photos. The main sources of written material here are www.Poets.org and Adventures in American Literature, Heritage Edition and Pegasus Edition.

Shillington, Pennsylvania

On the literary map, travel from Philadelphia to Shillington, Pennsylvania.


# _____________ Miles to Shillington, Pennsylania

$ _____________ Cost for Gasoline to Shillington, Pennysylvania

Visit Mrs. Steller's Updike Gallery.

"John Updike grew up in the small Pennsylvania town of Shillington, near Reading. He graduated from Harvard in 1954, then spent a year in England studying art. After his return to the United States, he worked on the staff of The New Yorker, where many of his short stories have appeared...Updike's fiction touches upon some basic issues of life in modern times: faith and disbelief, and the uprooting and uncertaninty of human relationships. Updike has said that a writer should capture the 'complexity and ambiguity of life,' and his stories, especially, show his skill at revealing what he terms 'the essential strangeness I feel in the mundane.' His work has often been pessimistic in outlook; its strength lies in the sharp insight he brings to the frustrations he so often depicts" (Adventures in American Literature 602).

Read "The Lucid Eye in Silver Town." Answer the following questions:

Updike's story is concerned with complex emotional relationships and with a "lucid eye," an eye that presumably sees these relationships clearly. In the first paragraph, what details suggest that Jay feels he sees things clearly? What details suggest that his father is motivated by emotional impulse?

Updike suggests that Jay may be prematurely proud of his sharpness of vision when the boy is partially blinded by getting something in his eye. Which character has the "lucid eye"? Explain in detail.