John Updike’s use of pathos to express the passion in this story is a good way to connect with his audience. The use of compassion, as well as the lack of compassion and emotions from the characters in the story brings fiction to life. The feeling from the family in this story becomes so insightful and so emotional that the audience can’t help but feel for each of the family members. Updike’s readers will want to fight for this family. They will catch themselves screaming out loud “don’t give up.” They will begin to imagine themselves as the characters in the story.
This couple, Richard and Joan, are separating and want to make the separation as painless for themselves as well as their children. Updike’s choice of pathos, which is the use of empathy and emotions, is exactly what an audience wants. Individuals want to feel for other human beings, they want to feel for people who are going through similar struggles. People can sympathize with each other because they are able to put themselves in someone else’s place.
The author’s subtle approach to the reason behind the divorce keeps his audience wanting to know why, what happened that made this couple decide to divorce? Updike only uses the word divorce once thought the story, he mentions divorce in the beginning of his story “Years ago the Maples had observed how often, among their friends divorce followed the dramatic home improvements, as if the marriage were making one last twitchy effort to live; their own worst crisis had come amid the plaster dust and exposed plumbing of a kitchen renovation” (Updike 441). After this statement he replaces the word divorce with separation the audience knows it’s there but since the couple doesn’t actually say they are getting a divorce the reader can speculate, possibly this couple will make it work. Something about this story will make the audience say out loud or maybe quietly to themselves “that could be me.”
This story is about real life situations that...