Updike's spare descriptions have a powerful effect in that they only provide the reader with a small detail, but that detail suggests a whole constellation of consequences. An example of these descriptions is the line that describes Jack hearing his wife start to paint downstairs. Updike describes the moment when Jack is just beginning to enjoy the rhythm of the story, "but downstairs a chair scraped, and he realized he must get down to help Claire paint the living-room woodwork" (345). This simple sound suggests a whole host of obligations and resentments simmering just below the surface of Jack and Claire's marriage.
Updike describes Jack's fairytale landscape in fairly recognizable, cliché terms. There is the "deep dark woods," "the tiptop" of "a very big tree" where "an enormous wise old owl" resides (345). While the fairytale imagery is not extensive, it certainly helps to anchor the story in a long tradition of fairytale tropes and archetypes.
Shared Imagery Between Fairytale and Reality
An important distinction in this story is between that which is "real" and that which is fiction, made-up, or said merely to placate a child. This is a distinction Jo begins to form for herself. However, it's clear that Jack injects his own familiar life into the bedtime stories he tells Jo, and so there is some imagery that overlaps. The image of the Creature family sitting down to dinner, and that of the train bringing Daddy Creature home from Boston, are both clearly taken from a familiar reality.
Should Wizard Hit Mommy? Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Should Wizard Hit Mommy? is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.