? asked in Arts & HumanitiesPoetry · 8 years ago

Ex basketball player poem by John Updike? Plz help 10 points?

Are there any changes in the structure action or feeling of the poem?

Pearl Avenue runs past the high-school lot,

Bends with the trolley tracks, and stops, cut off

Before it has a chance to go two blocks,

At Colonel McComsky Plaza. Berth’s Garage

Is on the corner facing west, and there,

Most days, you'll find Flick Webb, who helps Berth out.

Flick stands tall among the idiot pumps—

Five on a side, the old bubble-head style,

Their rubber elbows hanging loose and low.

One’s nostrils are two S’s, and his eyes

An E and O. And one is squat, without

A head at all—more of a football type.

Once Flick played for the high-school team, the Wizards.

He was good: in fact, the best. In ’46

He bucketed three hundred ninety points,

A county record still. The ball loved Flick.

I saw him rack up thirty-eight or forty

In one home game. His hands were like wild birds.

He never learned a trade, he just sells gas,

Checks oil, and changes flats. Once in a while,

As a gag, he dribbles an inner tube,

But most of us remember anyway.

His hands are fine and nervous on the lug wrench.

It makes no difference to the lug wrench, though.

Off work, he hangs around Mae’s Luncheonette.

Grease-gray and kind of coiled, he plays pinball,

Smokes those thin cigars, nurses lemon phosphates.

Flick seldom says a word to Mae, just nods

Beyond her face towards bright applauding tiers

Of Necco wafers Nibs and juju beads.

2 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    John Updike’s poem “Ex-basketball player” suggests that whatever the feelings are, happiness or sadness, both the man and the town he lives in, become dependants on each other for reaffirmation of the past. The poem is built around the character Flick Webb, who was a highschool basketball player who was famous as well. But now, he is confronted to the monotony of pumping gas the small town where he was born. Updike does not take "good or bad" judgement on Flick's situation. He only uses some images to portray a dark, dingy world of the present and contrast it with the bright, shining glory of Flick's past. Some poets can made wrong judgements about the character of a story but John Updike doesn’t do that and that is why I loved this story

    The imagery is evident in the first two lines of the poem, where the avenue "bends with the trolley tracks and stops, cut off." We already can see that Flick's future has been cut short. The word "cut off" is the key to understanding Flick's situation. This expression probably means that Flick’s life has changed a lot. Without anything, his status changed from a famous basketball player to a sad poor hardworking man. Basketball star's glory days were cut off by the reality of the life. And as I said at the beginning, I totally understand Flick’s situation because mine is comparable...

    Here is the link for the remaining text:-


    There are several more to choose from...

    Source(s): 03.10.2012
  • 4 years ago

    Poem Ex Basketball Player

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