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His hair has turned 14 T h e Joh n Updike Review altogether white and nearly blind eyes are shut tight. He holds his tiny grand-daughter in his arms, massive-jowled and tender. He is alone. The adoring audiences have all gone home, and even the baby peers out from behind the shadow of his face with frightened eyes. It was exactly the sort of writing that vaulted Lasch to celebrity a decade later with novelistic nonfiction like The New Radicalism in America To some extent, he had Updike to thank for showing him the way.
In the spare time they invented for themselves, Lasch and Updike collabo- rated on a number of side projects. The roommates coauthored several plays, po- etry, and even a television pilot—anything, in short, that had a chance of finding its way into print or on the airwaves. Nor did their combined efforts reach an audience beyond their dormitory. Unfortunately, it appears that the play has not survived. The relationship clued him in to the possibilities of collaborative friendships and exposed his prose to one of the greatest literary minds of his generation.
For all the collegiality between Lasch and Updike, stirrings of animosity were un- avoidable between aspiring writers in such close quarters.
Lasch, who occasion- ally fell into bouts of sullenness, was not above sniping at his roommate. He is courting a girl whom he met in his Fine Arts course. He began spending all his time up at Fogg Museum, where she used to study.
There is nothing immoral about this except that it eats up all his time. About the only thing I can hope for now, I guess, is to wind up a teacher of history at some second rate school for girls. Perhaps the greatest bone of contention between Lasch and Updike, however, came during their senior year, when they were living apart. True, there is an apples-and-oranges quality to comparing historical social criticism with literature and literary criticism, but in terms of sheer output, Updike carried the day.
One suspects that Lasch perceived this growing disparity even before graduation.
It was agonizing, but Lasch eventually acknowledged Updike as the superior writer. It may have been the greatest favor Updike ever did for him. Con- vinced that his talents might be put to better use elsewhere, Lasch gave himself over to history. After flirting briefly with the notion of becoming a journalist, he buckled down with his historical studies and applied to several graduate programs during his senior year.
He accepted an offer to attend Columbia University start- ing in the fall of But, they thought, it could not last. Little could they know that fate would shortly thrust them together one more time. Lasch was disappointed in Columbia. The routine quickly wore him down. By comparison, his undergraduate life in Cambridge seemed simple and enjoyable. Within a few weeks of moving to New York, Lasch reconnected with Updike.
The pair commiserated through airmail over their shared discomfort with their new sur- roundings. Updike vented about the dullness of English politics, as well as his inability to grasp the rules of cricket; he implored Lasch to send him the latest news about the baseball pennant races information which was apparently dif- ficult to come by in Oxford. In return, Lasch found a sympathetic audience for his many complaints about the deprivations of graduate student life.
Updike reas- sured Lasch that his difficulties simply required adjustment and accommodation to a new department. He urged his former roommate to endure and encouraged him to keep up a correspondence. By the end of his first year in the program, in the spring of , Lasch boasted that he had gained a fellowship.
Updike appeared to be further ahead of the game, outshining him yet again. He reported to Lasch that he had become a father, writing in detail how his newborn daughter spent every hour of her day. He had leapt forward professionally, too. Within his first few months of residency in England, Updike informed Lasch that he had entered into an arrangement with the New Yorker, a move brimming with potential.
Even better, as Lasch soon learned, Updike returned to the U. Living so many blocks apart prevented the wounds of their old rivalry from reopening. Living in separate intellectual worlds helped as well. Nevertheless, the distance did not prevent them from reacquainting socially. Updike, thrilled to be back in the land where baseball is the national pastime, hounded Lasch to attend Yankees games with him. Lasch regarded the affair with good humor. It was quite an adventure.
The adventure wore a little thin for Lasch when Updike found quick success as a writer. The last time, we discussed Proust. The letters between them dropped to a low ebb but they still shared a certain affinity, a closeness of mind, as they struggled to deal with an America that seemed to be lurching toward decline.
The Rabbit books are intimately concerned with the potential, limitations, and psychological motivations of Middle America that also came to deeply interest Lasch.
For Lasch, as outlined in The True and Only Heaven , resuscitating a lower-middle-class, petit-bourgeois radicalism is a potential way to save American democracy from the spiritually empty bureaucra- cies of corporate capitalism and an overly therapeutic state.
But while readers of the Rabbit novels were treated to mostly ambivalent conclusions, Updike also produced short stories that were more appreciative of middle-class life.
Updike marveled at the rich material and social culture available in the suburbs and suddenly sweeping the country— the affordable luxury items, the bright-colored packaging of household staples, the conventions and gatherings that brought people together, the rituals and rites 20 T h e Joh n Updike Review of passage marking daily life.
It was there I felt comfortable Self-Consciousness Despite his comfort and appreciation for the trappings of Middle America, Updike always retained some of the ambivalence evident in the Rabbit series.
If Updike wanted to show the beauty of the middle-class mundane, Lasch suggested that a major intellectual and aesthetic transformation was needed to make the mundane more deserving of admiration. A withering critic of consumer capitalism, Lasch worried that the assembly lines of mass production yielded a bitter harvest, one hardly worthy to be enamored. He feared that the Harry Angstroms of the world, reduced to soul- less work and at the mercy of a capricious market, are at risk of having their very humanity drained.
The only way the Rabbit prototype can regain freedom and dignity is by an assertion of independence. This would be Rabbit as Updike never imagined him in fact, as the inverse : a petit-bourgeois populist.
Here lay a potential for Middle America that Lasch could venerate, even build a political vision around. Anx- iously, hopefully, fretfully, they peered out at Middle America, looking for beauty and looking for answers. As Updike recognized, his overlapping intellectual interests with Lasch, while widely divergent, were a sort of kindred bond between them, one that endured through the years. For all their differences, both were keenly aware that beneath the American dream hangs a dark underbelly.
Their constant outpouring of books and essays, and the coincidence that both, for a time, published with the house of Alfred Knopf, reinforced their connectedness. And so, when Knopf himself sent Updike an advance copy of a new Lasch book in the spring of —the first of three Lasch would publish with Knopf—it occasioned a moment of reflection. Updike relayed his thoughts to Knopf, no doubt aware that they would be for- warded to Lasch. I have seen only the Lasch correspondence, housed at the University of Rochester, but this assessment strikes me as exactly right.
For more on the jeremiad quality of The Culture of Narcissism, see Brown, — In a culture of mass consumption, the narcissist is a byproduct of the self-indulgence and feel-good therapy promoted at the expense of self-reliance. The narcissistic personality, marked by ardent self-preoccupation rather than the social good, had, Lasch worried, grafted itself deeply upon Ameri- can life. CL to parents, 18 Oct. CL to parents 6 Nov. CL to parents, 2 Oct.
CL to parents, 29 Oct. CL to parents, 17 Mar. CL to Naomi Dagen, 15 Jan. CL to Parents, 19 Sept. CL to parents, 19 Sept. While Popper has many Laschian characteristics, it is possible that Updike created him as a composite of Lasch and their freshman year hallmate Edward French. Thirdly, honesty makes a reliable roommate. Choosing a roommate to live with is a much more important decision. It is like giving your house key to someone you may not know too well.
We need to be able trustworthy friends in order to concentrate on our works without thinking much about our security. If we going to live with someone, it is imperative that they understand and practice honestly.
Nobody like their roommate often stolen theirs assets or refuse to accept their faults. Lastly, an ideal roommate is considerate and decent.
Living for from our relatives, we desire for care and affection.
Especially we live our first time for away from our home without daily caring of our parents or siblings. We are still young and inexperienced.
When we face the problem or pressure, a considerate roommate would be savior for us. They may help us to solve the problem or listen to our hearts of depression. We also can share hardships and happiness together. When we are sick, our roommates taking care us could be great pleasure. An ideal roommate always likes to help his or her roommate who faced difficulties. In conclusion, an ideal roommate must a considerate, decent, honesty, responsibility and respected each others privacy and personal space.
But not all the people can fulfill the entire characteristic which I mention. So, want to find an ideal roommate is very difficult in the real life. References: 1. English Language Society.
Various Penang and Singapore High Schools. Thomas, Pilo. Essays General Paper. Me too. On your paper? I had to, uh, work. They were all too busy laughing at each other and watching the game progress on the TV. Nate Burrows played baseball, football and drank beer. Nate had apologized—while laughing—and even though he knew it was probably an accident, he still harbored a grudge. At least now that the tournament was over, there was no reason for any of them to stay.
Banging is an optional extra. He was on the swim team, and Adam was pretty sure his name was Ben. The room had shrunk to half its normal size, filled with broad-shouldered, muscled jocks. He frowned, and Josh elbowed him. He held up his hand to high-five Josh as he walked by, and Josh held his hand up again for first Nate, then Ben, then each of the other guys who were grabbing their jackets and wallets and heading out to the party.
Albeit more untidy, slightly more full of testosterone than it had been before, and definitely with more half-finished bags of Cheetos than he remembered. Josh leaned over and stole it from under his nose. Sorry again about everyone being here, by the way.