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July 2, 2017


You’ll Never Know, Dear, How Much I Love You

by NancyElin


  • Author: John Updike
  • Title:  You’ll Never Know, Dear,  How Much I Love You
  • Olinger Stories
  • Published: 1960
  • Trivia:  Olinger, Pennsylvania is a rural fictional town.
  • It is the setting for these  first 11 stories in the book
  • The Early Stories 1953-1975
  • Olinger is based on Updike’s boyhood town of  Shillington, Pennsylvania
  • #DealMeIn2017   Challenge



  1. You’ll Never Know, Dear,  How Much I Love You
  2. … is a refrain from the song: Your Are My Sunshine (1939) – Jimmie Davis
  3. It is s one of the most recorded American popular songs.
  4. Former Louisiana Gov. Jimmie Davis claimed to be one of its co-authors.
  5. It is one of the official state songs of Louisiana



  1. A ten-year-old boy goes to the carnival
  2. …with fifty cents in his pocket.
  3. Everything there attracts him to spend his money.
  4. He buys cotton candy and
  5. he watches others win at the wheel of fortune.
  6. He is thrilled by three cowgirls
  7. wearing white cowboy hats and swishing skirts.
  8. He tries his luck at the wheel, and loses forty cents.
  9. ….a moment he will never forget.


Image:  Wheel of fortune
  1. Tinselled wheel with a rubber tongue that
  2. …patters slower and slower on a circle of nails.
  3. The wheel “shouts when it stops.”
  4. The twittering wheel is a  “moon-faced god.”


First impression: after reading the story:

  • I thought immediately of  Araby a story in James Joyce’s Dubliners.
  • They share the same situation:
  • a boy anticipates a fair (or bazaar)
  • with great excitement, only to leave disappointed
  • “He’s been gypped.” ‘The waste.”  “The injustice.”



  1. Ben realizes he’s been gypped.
  2. He had 40 cents and they gave him 6 nickels instead of 8
  3. Tattooed man  PRETENDS he is too little to lose
  4. …and still keeps a dime.


  1. Epiphany moment:
  2. ‘the lost dime seems a tiny hole through
  3. ….which everything in existence is draining.”
  4. It sounds like an an exaggerated reaction for a lost  dime…
  5. but it hurts so much.


  1. Character revealed:
  2. Ben moves away, wet knees jarring.
  3. ..trying to flee from others who witnessed his disgrace.
  4.  He is on the verge of tears.
  5. He feels like a “comic prop” among the adults.


  • Realization:  (last sentence of the story)
  • “…the world is like a jaded coquette….that spurns
  • our attempts to give ourselves to her wholly.”


  1. The world is  weary, spiritless that
  2. flirts insincerely to win our attention.
  3. … and rejects  our attempts with contempt…
  4. …to surrender ourselves completely to her.


  1. Disillusionment:
  2. Ben lost his money but was rewarded unexpectedly.
  3. He learned that the world can be cruel.
  4. …and he better get used to it.
Read more from short story

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