Araby vs. a & P

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Celeste Stroup
Interpretative Exercise
10/1/12
Araby vs. A&P
Araby, written by James Joyce, and A&P, written by John Updike are two short stories that are a lot alike yet still completely different. Araby and A&P are both about young boys who are learning about love as they transition into adulthood. They both fall head over heels ‘in love’ with girls they have never met before. Both boys go to extremes measures to win over the love of the girls and be their hero’s. However, throughout both stories a couple of things were different. Such as, the passage of time in which the stories were written. Also, they had different circumstances that lead to the characters epiphany. And lastly, the use of dialogue was different in each short story.

In A&P the time of passage is very important to developing the character of Sammy. The story of A&P was very time oriented. The whole story took place in a matter of a mere half an hour or so. This shows that Sammy’s feeling for this girl developed quickly and he appeared to have no control over his thought or actions. In Araby, the time orientation is much different. Unlike A&P, in Araby you don’t have a certain time frame. For example, on page 328 of “The Literary Experience,” Joyce writes “One evening I went into the back drawing room in which the priest had died.” The words ‘one evening’ are not very specific. Was it a day, a week, a month or even a year later! This could symbolize how the boys love for Mangan’s sister developed more and more over time rather than in a couple of minutes like Updike’s Sammy.

In both stories, each boy comes to an epiphany at the end. However, different circumstances lead to them. In A&P, the mere presences of the three girls in the grocery store for such a short amount of time pushes Sammy. The ‘Queen Bee’ catches his attention and immediately captures his mind and heart. The presence and actions of her cause Sammy to quit his job and go chasing after this...
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