A&P and Model's Assistant

Topics: Short story, John Updike, The New Yorker Pages: 3 (890 words) Published: May 2, 2013
Beauty on the Job

After reading two short stories, “A&P” by John Updike, and “Model’s Assistant” from “Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls” by Alissa Nutting one could see that there are both similarities and differences within the two stories. Both stories have underlying themes of beauty and job stress. They both may have different settings and take place in separate areas but they are more similar than different.

In John Updike’s “A&P”, the lead character Sammy encounters unusual beauty within the A&P store for his first time. A group of three girls come strolling into the A&P in their bathing suits. These girls are very different from the average group of people that come walking into the store on a daily basis. This story is set in a boring New England town fairly far away from any beaches, which makes their attire very noticeable to the store employees. Sammy calls the average people that come into the A&P “sheep”, but describes these girls as much different and notices the beauty of one of the girls in the group. He calls her “Queenie”. Sammy says “-- and then the third one, that wasn't quite so tall. She was the queen. She kind of led them, the other two peeking around and making their shoulders round. She didn't look around, not this queen, she just walked straight on slowly, on these long white prima donna legs. She came down a little hard on her heels, as if she didn't walk in her bare feet that much, putting down her heels and then letting the weight move along to her toes as if she was testing the floor with every step, putting a little deliberate extra action into it.” (Updike, 1) As one can see, beauty is a main focus within this short story.

In Alissa Nutting’s “Model’s Assistant” the focus on beauty comes up as well. The main character, the narrator, ends up meeting another girl, Garla, from “model-land” as she says. The narrator first speaks of Garla and her beauty after she first meets her. The narrator...
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