Olinger and Beyond: A Developmental Study of the Fiction of John Updike
The author's growth is reflected by the changes in the recurrent themes, and the addition of new moods, new themes, and new characters. We now have a rather complete emotional and spiritual history of the Olinger hero as he progresses from an adolescent awareness of “a special destiny” and definition of the consequent problems on an intuitional basis to adult groping for answers and meaning. Now that Olinger has been pretty well mapped out, Updike can move beyond it, as he has done in the lost period. When the past ceases to be his milieu, the hero does not lose the sense of it as a transcendent experience; the past is for him a paradox: it is at once a trap which he must escape and the means for that escape, if only because it fails in the end to answer his needs. The farm and the past of Olinger have been reduced completely to memory; the hero and the author must find meaning elsewhere.