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Posted on March 28th, 2013, by

In our essay we will be comparing and discussing the similarities and differences of two short stories: A&P by John Updike and Araby by James Joyce. Though they may be at first sight unrelated, but as we will show later in our paper, they have much in common. Both short stories deal in the first love matter and their endings are similar, but in A&P we can see that the lovers are separated even more by unequal social status.
In the first story, A&P’ by john Updike the narrator and protagonist is a nineteen-year old boy named Sammy, who is working as a salesman at the grocery store A&P in a small town near the sea. While reading Araby by James Joyce we cannot say anything certain about the age of the narrator, apart that he is still studying in school, which means he is certainly under eighteen. There is a clue to that in the first sentence: North Richmond Street being blind, was a quiet street except at the hour when the Christian Brothers’ School set the boys free (Joyce). buy essay
The setting of A&P, this gray world, in which Sammy lives, is similar to that of the boy-narrator from Araby. This boy lives with his uncle and aunt in a house, which formerly belonged to a priest. From many details we can guess that his family is not well off and lives in a poor part of the city. The atmosphere of the priest’s rooms Air, musty from having been long enclosed, hung in all the rooms (Joyce) was certainly the atmosphere of the whole neighborhood. Both of the boys are from low-income families. Such epithets as musty, enclosed and blind street, blind end, uninhabited, detached, dark, muddy and many others are used to convey the feelings evoked by narrow and dark streets of the district. Sammy too, describes the store, the town and the people with terms, conferring negative tones. People are sheep, mostly elderly, who are flocked in front of the cash desks under the white fluorescent light of lamps. The image of the town is contrasted with the image of the beach.
As Sammy’s world is suddenly shattered to pieces by the appearance of three unusual girls, the boy’s from Araby perception of it is greatly changed by his anonymous adoration to the older sister of his neighbor Mangan, whom Joyce describes only in brief: Her dress swung as she moved her body and the soft rope of her hair tossed from side to side (Joyce). They enter the store in their swimming suits, which is hardly acceptable in the center of the town. Besides, the girl who leads them has the straps of her swimming suit down on her shoulders, which is regarded almost as public nakedness. But she is not daunted by the odd looks of the public in the store. Sammy calls her Queenie, from which we can guess that she is probably not only prim but of higher class than most of the clients in the store, whom Sammy compares to sheep. The young man immediately falls in love with that girl. She is not only beautiful, but she is the sort of a girl Sammy had never seen before confident, well bread and of decent behavior. She is not alike all those sheep, hurdled together, doing everything together and only if it is not against the order. She was not alike to usual women with six children and varicose veins mapping their legs (Updike). All this combined contributes to the greater effect of separation of Queenie from the other women in Sammy’s damp and gray world.

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