Ex-Basketball Player Analysis

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Sunset on Pearl Avenue “Ex-Basketball Player” by John Updike is a story of an old basketball player and the small town he resides in. The poem briefly describes a man name “Flick” and the way he is confined to this town (6). John Updike uses literary devices to bring specific images and thoughts into the reader’s mind. Symbol, personification, and word choice reinforce that Flick Webb’s identity is inseparable from what he is known best for: basketball. Throughout “Ex-Basketball Player” John Updike uses literary devices to help convey an underlying story. Updike uses symbolism to give words a greater meaning. One such example can be found in “Flick Webb” (6). “Flick” is the motion of a basketball player’s wrist when he throws the ball towards the goal (6).”Webb” is used with a sense of duality. “Webb” refers to the net of a basketball goal, and that, he is trapped by the webs of age and missed opportunities (6). People derive a sense of individuality from the name they were given. “Flick Webb” has a name that means basketball, and, because of that, when people hear “Flick Webb,” the first thing they think about is basketball. (6). When people hear his name they remember when he played basketball and the role he had in county history. “Pearl Avenue” is another case of symbolism used by Updike (1). An avenue is typically grand; however, the poem describes “Pearl Avenue” as being “cut off” shortly after it starts (1,2) “Pearl Avenue” also leads to where Flick is working now (1). “Pearl Avenue” is a representation of Flick’s life and career. Both started with great expectations only to be met with a firm stop and cut short of any possible success. Also, the “trolley tracks” mentioned in the poem represent a way off “Pearl Avenue” (1, 2). “Trolley tracks” are used to carry people or objects away to different destinations. Flick did not get on the trolley and follow
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