By some it has been cast as a comedy of manners, a charming period divertissement on life in middle-class America during the Vietnam era. Others have seen it as a diseased farce, a bilious Thersitical outpouring, soured by a deep-seated misogyny. I think it is both these things and more, all at the same time, which is why reading it is such a queasy experience…
I still say Mr. Updike is kidding. After all, the metaphor alluded to here is pretty vague. After all, one could argue that just as much as he is needling the feminists, Mr. Updike is exploiting a contemporary perspective to understand earlier history.
The witches act as moral agents of someone else, whether of the author it would be impertinent to speculate, dispatching the foolish, the feeble, the left-wing, or the merely irritating according to their deserts, or worse, you may feel, for the standards by which people are judged are severe.
Updike writes stylish and sophisticated prose. It would appear, however, that he doesn’t actually know any women.— Lily Power