In class we're doing "Should Wizard Hit Mommy?" by John Updike. A part of the last paragraph is a little bit unclear to me:

“The poor kid,” he answered, and with utter weariness watched his wife labour. The woodwork, a cage of moldings and rails and baseboards all around them, was half old tan and half new ivory, and he felt caught in an ugly middle position, and though he as well felt his wife’s presence in the cage with him, he did not want to speak with her, work with her, touch her, anything.

I have a few questions on this paragraph, related to the bits I've emboldened:

  • Why did Jack (the father here) feel that he was in an "Ugly Middle Position"?
  • Why did Jack not want to talk/touch/work with his wife?

I feel I've only read this story as a task, just like a Dad tells his daughter a story -> Roger is Bullied -> Magic Changes him -> Mom Disapproves -> Moral is to respect yourself and stay true to your identity -> End. And I feel that this last paragraph seems to hit something that I don't think I understand.


1 Answer 1


Because throughout the story a subplot is in play ,where the father is the roger shunks himself.Like the shunks he had desires which he wanted to fulfil to look amicable in the society but his mother did not like it .She was right in her own place trying to teach his son to be true to his identity but in life often there are more than one version of the truth, as his true desires were not false either.But he ended up listening to the norms of the society(as roger ended up listening to his mother)being just like any other typical man of his standard.Now he had kids and a wife and had to perform the monotonous duties which he was not very fond of .But he loved his family (as roger loved his mother),so though he wanted to escape from that life , he could not and was thus trapped in the cage with his wife.

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