54 pages 1 hour read

John Updike


Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1961

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Reading Context

Use these questions or activities to help gauge students’ familiarity with and spark their interest in the context of the work, giving them an entry point into the text itself.

Short Answer

1. What are some typical reactions individuals experience when they feel out of place or at odds with their surroundings? What might they do or say in this situation? Write a few sentences that describe the actions and reactions you have noticed in yourself and others when this occurs and how they were received by others.

Teaching Suggestion: If your students cannot think of a time they experienced this personally, you might suggest they think of a time they witnessed another person who did something at odds with their surroundings. Consider listing a few examples from your own life as a springboard, such as wearing the wrong item of clothing, going to the wrong address, clapping at the wrong moment during a musical performance, etc. Students might benefit from sharing their experience with a partner or a small group first, and then you might ask for volunteers to share their experiences with the whole group. At the close of this opening activity, you might ask students whether conforming to public perceptions of correct behavior is always helpful.