Updike's "A&P" And Joyce's "Araby": A Sexual And Cultural Clash

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Despite their various differences, "A & P"� by John Updike and "Araby"� by James Joyce, have much in common. The protagonists in both these short stories stumble upon disenchantment while moving from one stage of life to another. John Updike portrays Sammy, the narrator of "A & P"�, as a nineteen-year-old cashier at the local A & P in a coastal town near Boston. Sammy, thru the use of daring means, fruitlessly attempts to win the attention of a beautiful girl. The narrator of "Araby"� depicted by James Joyce, also, conveys his first failed love, upon reflection of his boyhood in Irish Catholic Dublin in the early 1900's. Updike's "A & P"� and Joyce's "Araby"� both illustrate youthful narrators who come into conflict with a sexual and cultural clash.

The protagonists from both stories live in a restrictive culture antagonistic to romance. The location of Sammy's New England town offers some insights to its cultural values.

When Sammy has an altercation with a lady at the cash, he reflects, "if she'd been born at the right time they would have burned her over in Salem"¦"� (Updike 864). Entailing the strict moral code and little forbearance for those who do not follow them. Furthermore, the location of the A & P grocery store shines some light on the town's values. Updike places the setting for the A & P "right in the middle of the town, and if you stand out front our doors you can see two banks and a Congregational church and the newspaper store and three real estate offices"¦"� (Updike 866). Cultural values and order of importance are shown by Sammy's perception of his surroundings. The banks are the first among those mentioned, an indication of the importance of capital in modern society. Followed by a...

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