Tempo-Spatial Characterization in John Updike’s The City: Literary Narrative Dynamics

Abdullah H. Kurraz


John Updike’s The City (1987)embodies a striking intersection of the triangle of the intrinsic interactive elements of plot, place, time, and narration, which characterize Carson being trapped by voyages and technologies in a modern city. This paper explores all these elements and reflects on the viewpoints and attitudes towards the city as manifested in this dramatic story. The paper also studies the story's narrative authority, dynamics and organic structure in the light of formalistic criticism to better understand its dominant themes and points of view. Formalistic approach concentrates on the concepts of structure, setting of place and time, tension, and point of view. Specifically, the paper focuses on the settings of time and place that exclusively construct the story and aid readers to understand its major character, ideas and tensions. The City offers accessible meanings and interpretations through Carson’s overwhelming disease, restlessness, and anxieties. It also acquires its metaphorical structure through again tempo-spatial settings.

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