Running head: IN THE BEAUTY OF THE LILLIES 1
In the Beauty of the Lilies Summary
Logan Daniel Laabs
IN THE BEAUTY OF THE LILIES 2
In the Beauty of the lilies Summary
John Updike encourages ideas or themes which could aggravate many readers and critics: a struggle to find self-awareness in a increasingly complex and difficult world, but also that cinema and television is used as a second kind of religion for Americans. The start of the book or part one, begins with Clarence, an honest clergyman, who after a hot summers' day loses all his faith in god and becomes Atheist. After renouncing his prosperous job, Clarence moves his wife and three children out of a home of god, to sell encyclopedias, door to door. This decision has serious repercussions both publicly and fiscally. After Clarence loses his faith, he begins to turn his attention to television.
After some time goes by, television is really the only thing that makes him happy. Devoid of the will to live, he watches nickelodeon cinemas until one day he dies prematurely from stress he has suffered over the past couple of years. Through Clarence, Updike is using him as a means to show that without God or faith, people turn to a "substitute religion" in order to find their inspiration. Through Clarence's actions, his family feels the consequences for generations, first through Clarence's youngest child Ted, next through Ted's child Esther, and finally full circle to Clark, where Clark has the reverse attitude of his great grandfather Clarence.
IN THE BEAUTY OF THE LILIES 3
Part II begins with Clarence's youngest child, Ted which is set around the 1920s. Because Clarence left the church, his whole family was strained into poverty. This is partially why Teddy is quiet as...