S. Study Questions & Topics for Discussion

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Updike's satire of religious communes has attracted a fair amount of commentary, but the most controversial aspect of S., by far, is the female narrator. She is the Updike character whom feminist critics most love to hate. A less heated discussion, perhaps, may stem from questions about Updike's debt to Hawthorne.

1. What are the targets of Updike's religious satire? How is life at the Arizona commune a charade of spiritual enlightenment?

2. How is the comedy of the novel based upon the self-deception of the narrator? Does she remain a likable heroine despite her comic errors of perception and judgment?

3. If the narrator is betrayed by the desires of her own heart and soul, how reliable is her account of what happens? What allows us to read between the lines of her reports?

4. How does Updike parody the religious language used at the Arizona commune? Are the characters able to...

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This section contains 305 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the S. Short Guide
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S. from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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