Giving Blood

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In 1961, when President John F. Kennedy established the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, John Updike began to write the short story, “Giving Blood” (Lewis pg. 1). One year after “Giving Blood” was published; this Commission documented numerous incidences of how women were discriminated in the workplace, and recommended changes to improve female employees. That same year, 1963, Betty Freidan’s book was released, The Feminine Mystique, depicted middle –class American housewives as unhappy, and repressed. The book was a best seller and helped spur the women’s movement (Politt 1-4). John Updike was born in Pennsylvania in Reading, Pennsylvania on March 18, 1932. He itched constantly from psoriasis, and stammered when speaking, yet despite these difficulties, with his mother’s help, he excelled, especially in reading and writing. After high school, Updike graduated from Harvard before attending Oxford school of art and design for post graduate work and enjoyment. While still at Harvard, he married Mary Pennington – a woman with whom he argued constantly. After having three children with Mary, John decided the marriage had lasted long enough. He filed for a divorce. In 1977, he married a second woman, Martha Ruggles before moving with her and her three children to New England Suburbs (Hannon 1-4).Years later, John reflected back on his former marriage. He gleaned ideas from typical suburban sexual relationships to write his 15 stories about the couple. “Giving Blood” illustrates the idea that when someone is caring and giving, they receive more in return then they would if they never gave at all. With blood being symbolic for giving from the heart, Updike uses blood to show that in relationships, one must give the most important, life sustaining quality to a relationship; one must give their life to a relationship. This point is further exemplified by Updike because the Maples are extremely superficial individuals, not givers. Updike also uses irony,...
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