• Madison White

A Story a Day #39: John Updike




March 24th, 2020

"The Alligators"

John Updike


A new girl, Joan, moves to a new school. The rest of the kids pick on her relentlessly and make fun of her hair, her clothes, and the way she talks back to the teacher. Eventually, Joan starts to change her look to better fit in with the others. One boy, Charlie, takes notice of this and decides to draw her. Later, he has a dream about saving her from alligators. He starts walking with her after school and decides that he loves her. At the end, he realizes that everyone actually loves her and doesn't hate her at all.


If there is any short story writer that is referenced more than anyone else, it seems to be John Updike. People love to reference his work and call him an inspiration. To be honest, I don't think that I've ever read a John Updike story before, or at least not one I can recall off the top of my head.


I liked this story because of the way it tackles childrens' narratives and ways of thinking. Children see the world very differently than adults do and it is often obvious when an adult is trying to write as a child and failing. This story understands the cruelty that occurs during childhood when someone doesn't fit in. On the other hand, my mind wasn't blown by the story. I liked the epiphany at the end where the young boy everyone is just obsessed with this girl rather than actually disliking her, but it didn't seem revolutionary.

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© 2018 Madison White Writes

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