Peter has developed a severe fever, so he stays home the next day as George goes through the snow to school, realizing that his fate is not to die, but to live.Peter is remembering these events fifteen years later, and the reader realizes that they were not just ordinary trials of a schoolteacher and his son, but crucial experiences in one boy’s undertaking the universal task of finding one’s father—and one’s own identity.On a mythic level, the father is depicted as Chiron the centaur, part man and part stallion, who serves as mentor to youthful Greek heroes. Schiff provides commentary on works that have largely been ignored by the public as well as books that have received little critical attention. Using the principles of Jacques Lacan, Sethuraman examines the Oedipal motivations of the main characters, who seem to be attracted to death wishes. A revealing portrait of Updike’s background and personality; his views on life, sex, politics, and religion; and his evolution as a writer.
The summer that I was ten -- Can it be there was only one summer that I was ten?
It must have been a long one then -- each day I'd go out to choose a fresh horse from my stable which was a willow grove down by the old canal. But when, with my brother's jack-knife, I had cut me a long limber horse with a good thick knob for a head, and peeled him slick and clean except a few leaves for the tail, and cinched my brother's belt around his head for a rein, I'd straddle and canter him fast up the grass bank to the path, trot along in the lovely dust that talcumed over his hoofs, hiding my toes, and turning his feet to swift half-moons.
The novel is part , a novel of an artist seeking his identity in conflict with society or with his past.
The nine chapters of the novel emerge as a collage, a narrative appropriate for the painter-narrator.
My hair flopped to the side like the mane of a horse in the wind.
My forelock swung in my eyes, my neck arched and I snorted.The novel opens abruptly within the mode of the mythological by introducing Chiron—disguised as a high school science teacher—who has been wounded in the ankle by an arrow in accordance with the Greek myth.He limps out of the classroom on his remaining three hooves to Al Hummel’s garage to have the arrow removed.To reinforce this universality, Updike utilizes myth.The book’s title comes from the identification of George Caldwell with Chiron, the noble centaur (half-man, half-horse) who gave his life so Prometheus might...The willow knob with the strap jouncing between my thighs was the pommel and yet the poll of my nickering pony's head.My head and my neck were mine, yet they were shaped like a horse.Its story is of George Caldwell, a science teacher in a small Pennsylvania town, and his fifteen-year-old son, Peter.Updike’s own father was a teacher in the high school in Shillington, Pennsylvania, and the book was in part intended to be a tribute to his father.Nearly thirty, Peter Caldwell, the artist-protagonist, is seeking to recover from his past some insight or understanding that might clarify and rejuvenate his artistic vocation.He reminisces to his black mistress in a Manhattan loft about a three-day period during the winter of 1947, fourteen years earlier.