Updike talks about this failure as he had first hand experience of watching young people in his town ruining their lives. As he once said, “One of the dominant impressions of my growing-up in Pennsylvania – where I saw a lot of basketball games, thanks to my fathers being a high-school teacher and a ticket taker at home games – was the glory of home-town athletic stars, and their often anti-climactic post-graduation careers” (Monroe, “Inside Game”).
Both the titles of the poem are in sync with the context or the content. The titles foreshadow and hence provide the readers with a general idea about the respective subjects of the poems. The title of “To an Athlete Dying Young” also hints upon the fact that this poem might be an elegy as the readers later find it to be true since the poem deals with death and is written in the memory of an athlete.
The tone of the “Ex-Basketball Player” appears to be pessimistic. In very simple words, the poet depicts his disappointment regarding the behavior of the youth. On the other hand, although “To an Athlete Dying Young” is an elegy yet it has a comparatively optimistic tone because it portrays death as not only bliss but also describes it as a new beginning.
The setting of the poem “Ex-Basketball Player” is a dreary and a sort of rundown gas station of 1946. The setting of the poem also adheres to the disappointed or dejected mood/tone of the poem. On the other “To an Athlete Dying Young” is set in an anonymous nineteenth century in town and a cemetery in England.
“Ex-Basketball Player” does not follow any set pattern of rhyme scheme. The poet makes use of the technique of free verse and hence in very simple words conveys the poets perspective to the readers. On contrary “To an Athlete Dying Young” is a Lyrical poem with a rhyme scheme of AABB.
Although it is