Custom essays on The Cruel Lessons: Love and Life Clash

The youthful love of both of the narrators from “A&P” and “Araby” is based only on first-sight impressions. Their expectations about love and women are incredible and thus unrealistic. Those expectations are the cause of their ruin and emotional downfall in the end of the stories. The object of love of the boy from “Araby” is of equal position to him, the situation is very different in the story by Updike. Queenie is certainly from a rich family. The clue to her higher position in society is that she buys Kingfish Fancy Herring Snacks in Pure Sour Cream. Sammy imagines how her parents receive guests at home: “Her father and the other men were standing around in ice-cream coats and bow ties and the women were in sandals picking up herring snacks on toothpicks off a big plate and they were all holding drinks the color of water with olives and sprigs of mint in them” (Updike). Sammy’s family is a usual “blue collar” family. Sammy thinks about it “when my parents have somebody over they get lemonade”¦” (Updike). On seeing how rude Lengel the manager talks to his Queen, Sammy is outraged and decides to quit the job in the store. He also hopes that Queenie will recognize his gesture and give him some attention. He is a typical American worker-class young man who wants to get himself a wife from a higher-class society. custom essays
Whereas Sammy is led mostly by the desire of owning a girl from a higher society (the one like Queenie), the boy’s from “Araby” feelings are mainly platonic ”“ “I imagined that I bore my chalice safely through a throng of foes. Her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers and praises which I myself did not understand…I did not know whether I would ever speak to her or not or, if I spoke to her, how I could tell her of my confused adoration. But my body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires” (Joyce). Both of the boys don’t have courage enough to talk to their beloved girls.
Both of them commit a deed to win attention of their girls ”“ Sammy is quitting his job, thinking that he is a hero: “I say “I quit” to Lengel quick enough for them to hear, hoping they’ll stop and watch me, their unsuspected hero” (Updike). And the boy from Joyce’s story too embarks on a “long and dangerous” journey to the bazaar “Araby”, which is somewhat similar to medieval chivalric romance, where a knight accomplishes great deeds in order to win his damsel’s hand and love.
But both “heroes’ have failed in their enterprise, getting only disillusionment in reward for their exploits. Sammy carried the gesture too far and is left without job in the street with the thought that he is no hero for his Queen. In a small town, it is not easy to find a job if you quit one by yourself. He was shocked at the thought, how hard it would be for him to live on “my stomach kind of fell as I felt how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter” (Updike). The realizing of his folly comes too late, only after he had made his move. The boy from “Araby” as well, when surrounded by darkness at the bazaar, is disillusioned and realizes the vanity of his imagined love. He can never be a lover of a girl, who is older than hi is. Peering into the darkness, surrounding him he saw himself as “a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger” (Joyce).
As we can clearly see, though the major theme of the two short stories is similar, they have quite a number of differences. Firstly, the age of the narrators in the stories is different ”“ the narrator of “Araby” is younger than Sammy from “A&P”. The origin of the two narrators is similar (working class family), but Sammy wants to get a better position by marrying a girl from higher society. His object of love is totally different to those women, which Sammy usually sees around, while the girl the narrator of “Araby” is in love with is only different in his imagination. They are both young and immature, and when their feigned love meets harsh reality it breaks asunder and leaves them with more distress and disillusionment than they can handle.
In general, both stories are about active young men, who want to escape from dull reality by means of constructing “fancy castles” in a land of their imagination. But those castles crash, however, when tried by real harsh life. In the end, they realize that they have to try harder to get away from their present dull lives to better ones. They find defeating their own fate and reality to be not an easy task at all.


Works Cited
Joyce, James. A&P. Web. 13 June 2011.
Updike, John. Araby. Enotes. Web. 13 June 2011.

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