Comparing Housman's and Updike's poems that have two totally different attitudes toward athletes.

Essay by cjmacaroniUniversity, Bachelor'sA, April 2004

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In A.E. Housman's poem "To an Athletes Dying Young" and John Updike's poem "Ex- Basketball Player," each of the speakers use two different types of attitudes toward the athletes. In A.E. Housman's poem, his way of thinking about the athlete is negative.

Smart lad, to slip betimes away

From fields where glory does not stay

And early though the laurel grows

It withers quicker than the rose. (955)

The author expresses that the death of this young athlete while he was famous was better than growing old and go through losing it.

So set, before its echoes fade,

The fleet foot on the sill of shade,

And hold to the low lintel up

The still- defended challenge-cup.(955)

To die famous is better than dying a nobody which many athletes end up doing.

On the other hand John Updike's state of mind toward athletes is sad.

He was good: in fact, the best.

In '46

He bucketed three hundred ninety points,A county record still. The be loved Flick. (1)

The author shows that Flick was so great at one point in his life, so good that Flick never though of learning new skills because he would not need them to play basketball.

He never learned a trade, he just sells gas,

Checks oil, and changes flats. Once in a while,

As a gag, he dribbles an inner tube,

But most of us remember anyway.(1)

Now Flick's life is nothing more than endless job of doing crap. Basketball was not a career that never ended because it does end once someone better or young comes along to take a place of an older player. The author revels the haunting truth that you can not be the best forever.