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An Analysis of John Updike's "Pigeon Feathers"

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An Analysis of John Updike's "Pigeon Feathers" Change is always constant throughout an individuals life. In the Updike's short story "Pigeon Feathers", we see a lot of change in an character named David. Change seems to be a constant theme throughout the story, such as a change of setting, change of faith and change of perspective on the world. David is a young man that is being constantly shaped by the outer world. David's authority figures are an important aspect in his life, however this all changes when David reads farther into Christianity. The words like "God" or "Heaven" lose meaning to him and the very foundation of his world are shaken. David changes his perspective on the world and then he as an individual changes. This change, at first, is a negative transition. The confusion he had about unanswerable questions in Christianity converted to anger. Eventually, he started directing it at the ones that were trying to help him. ...read more.


She has a great respect for the world and out of that respect, she finds evidence of god. This contrasts the beliefs of the men in David's family; the grandfather, father and David have similar views. They have a more logical stance where they accept. They seem to constantly searching and asking for more. This is shown through the father's regular church activity and the grandfathers worn out bible. These personality traits and influences effect how David reacts. While trying to settle in to his new house, David comes across one of his mother's books. When skimming through this book, he was enlightened about the life of Jesus. He interprets Jesus as "an obscure political agitator, a kind of hobo, in a minor colony of the roman empire." (118) He is taken a back and is confused by the exert; the reason for this is shown when David thinks "survivals and misunderstandings more farfetched were reported daily in the papers" (119) ...read more.


David even shows resentment against his teachers. One can see this when David struggles against his teacher to find the answers to his questions. David has to accept reality before he can find closure. David ends his confusion and doubt about religion by accepting his surroundings. This is done when he is doing an errand for his grandmother, which is shooting the pigeons in the barn. At first, he is hesitant about the chore he has to do but because of pressure from his family he decides to do it. When he does this task he makes a connection with heaven and god. The connection releases him from his worries and gives him closure about the situation. This give us a moral lesson on how to deal with change, this is by the use of acceptance. An individual needs to settle into his surrounding as quickly as possible to avoid discontent. David did this by a simple task, which shows us that even little experience can hold so much depth in them. sss ...read more.

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