When reading a story one tends to feel emotions that the narrator causes them to feel. When the narration is told by someone who may be bias to certain ideas, or is inexperienced to the things they are describing it can lead to an unreliable source of information. This idea of the narration being told by an unreliable source is found in both the short stories “A&P” by John Updike and “Araby” by James Joyce. In these stories age, hormones, and irrational decisions are three of the main factors in why the first person narrational standpoints are unreliable.
First person is the key word to look into when thinking about the narrational standpoint of a story. In “A&P” the narration is in the first person point of view, and in the story “Araby” it is a first person point of view from the author when he was a boy, but he also jumps in and tells the reader what he thinks of what he was thinking from his standpoint now. This, along with the age of the narrator also has a lot to do with the reliability of the information given. For example, in “A&P” the narrator is a nineteen year old boy which allows the reader to assume a lot of aspects of how he is going to tell the story. He talks about the girls that come into the store in a very detailed and provocative way that makes the reader get a very vivid picture in their head of what this young man is seeing.
It gets taken to extremes such as Sammy commenting on the way her feet are touching the floor. “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 19). He also goes about describing the girls in a very immature way, as in, he compares them and the way that they are to abstract things. “This clean bare plane of the top of her chest down from the shoulder bones like a dented...
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