The Lifeguard

John Updike


This story really has no plot. It is just about some guy thinking about the mysteries of life and crap like that.


The Lifeguard: He spends the whole story sitting on his lifeguard chair thinking about stuff while looking at the people on the beach.


This lifeguard is in his high white chair on the beach. He spent the last 9 months studying religion in school. Then he starts thinking about religion and the beach. He is sad because it is Sunday and people are on the beach and not in church. Then he looks at the different kinds of people and makes fun of them. The old people never sleep. The middle age women gossip. Then he talks more about religion. He says that these people on the beach will never reach salvation because of all the idiotic things they do and talk about. He is kinda disgusted at the people on the beach.


  • He compares the activities on the beach to religion. He comments how people THINK they are getting the religious experience at the beach: danger of the waves, beauty of sun etc.
  • It is up to you to decide whether the lifeguard is a cocky arrogant idiot, or if he is correct that the people on the beach ARE sinners.