Read "A&P," "The Lesson," "The Necklace," and "The Lady with the Pet Dog" and write a paragraph in response to each question. Explain your points and back them up with detail from the stories. Upload as a Word or Open Office document. Due 4.21.12 1. In Updike’s story, what does Lengel stand for?
In "A&P" by Updike, Lengel is the manager of the A&P store where the story takes place. He is also Sammy’s boss and a Sunday class teacher. In the short story, Lengel represents the system, the policy, the establishment. In his attempt to get the girls to respect social norms, Lengel confronts them about their inappropriate attire. The first thing Lengel says to the girls is "Girls, this isn't the beach." Lengel is enforcing the social codes of his time and place. To Sammy, Lengel symbolizes conformity and everything he does not want in his life. The short story, A&P was written in the 1950's and at that time youthful rebellion and sexual revolution barely exists. If the story takes place in our time, people would consider Lengel’s reaction exaggerated. At the time of the story, anybody would have reacted the way Lengel did. By confronting the girls, Lengel proves to be a representation of the behaviors that people in his society consider to be proper or acceptable. 2. How does Updike depict the supermarket? Is it a positive or a negative portrait?
In “A&P”, Updike gives a detailed and vivid description of the store. For instance, Updike give a description of a particular scene where, “[the girls] shuffeled out of sight behind a pyramid of diet delight peaches.” Instead of simply using “behind a pyramid of cans,” Updike gives more details by using the name of the product. Updike locates Sammy “between the checkouts and the Special bins” and describes the girls going up “the cat-and-dog-food-breakfast-cereal-macaroni-rice-raisins-seasonings-spreads-spaghetti-soft-drinks-crackers-and-cookies aisle”. Updike gives her a vivid description of the store. Sammy also lists grocery items in a humorous manner. None of the foods Sammy lists are nutritious. They are all snack foods, condiments or in the case of the pet foods, not for human consumption at all. Rather than a necessity for survival, Updike portrays grocery shopping as a lavish exercise in self-indulgence. Sammy also gives a humorous description of customers, “She’s one of these cash-register-watchers, a witch about fifty with rouge on her cheekbones and no eyebrows, and I know it made her day to trip me up” The description of the story setting participates in giving a sense of realism to the story and I find that good for me as a reader.
3. Why doesn’t Sylvia like Miss Moore?
In the short story “The lesson” by Toni Cade Bambara, Sylvia is a tough girl. She naturally shows hate towards any person who try to interfere in her life. Sylvia does not like Miss Moore and does not want listen to her. In the beginning of the story, Sylvia considers Miss Moore as an enemy who prevent her to take advantage of her summer days. For example, Sylvia does not approve Miss Moore decision to stand outside with her in the hot weather when she could go to the movies or go swimming. Also, Sylvia feels like Miss Moore is trying to influence her way of thinking and to take control of her actions. Sylvia is also reluctant to Miss Moore lessons. Sylvia does not want to admit that she is poor. She shows her dislike when she says “and then she gets to the part about we all poor and live in the slums, which I don’t feature”.
4. How does Chekhov intend us to feel about Dmitri Gurov?
Chekhov establishes Gurov’s character traits as man who is judgmental of women, awkward among men and filled with personal contradictions. In the beginning of the story, Chekhov gives a brief glimpse of Gurov's social mores through Gurov’s relection, "If she is here alone without a husband or friends, it wouldn't be amiss to make her acquaintance”. However, the same Gurov contradicts his social mores when he approaches “the lady with the dog” and woos her. Chekhov describes Gurov as man who is not able to control his impulses even though morality requires it, social mores expect it, and his marriage demands it. He lives with personal contradictions without any apparent awareness or discomfort: the contradictions are his feelings that women are "'the lower race'" but that with "women he felt free, and knew ... how to behave ...."
5. Explain the irony of the necklace in “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant. In “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant, the most evident irony comes from the fact that the Loisels spent years paying off a replacement for what was actually an imitation of a diamond necklace. Also, in her desperate attempt to become a member of the higher class, Mathilde ends up even more poor than before. The second most noticeable irony is that Mathilde loses her more valuable asset, her beauty. As stated in the beginning of the story, Mathilde “was one of those pretty and charming girls born”. Nonetheless, Mathilde wants to add more value to her beauty by borrowing the necklace and being seen as more beautiful. Unfortunately, she loses Madame Forestier’s necklace and ends up poor and also loses her beauty. Madame Forestier’s reaction when she meets Mathilde at the end of the story adds more to the irony. Madame Forestier utteres a cry, “Oh!...my poor Mathilde,how you have changed!...” Name:_____ALEXANDRE KOFFI