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Comparing A&P by John Updike and Porphyria's Lover by Robert Browning Essay

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Comparing A&P by John Updike and Porphyria's Lover by Robert Browning



In John Updike's short story, "The A&P", he writes of an eighteen-year-old cashier who is infatuated with three girls that enter the store and in Robert Browning's poem, Porphyria's Lover, He writes of a man's intense passion for his lover. Even thought these two works are different in context, they have very striking similarities. Updike's narrating main character, Sammy, is plagued by middle class monotonous life style. He shows his possessive, but spontaneous side as he describes the girls in the story with great detail and enthusiasm. Browning's narrating main character, a man unnamed is plagued by his deeply devoted love for his mistress and their inability to marry due to his lower class status. He too, shows his possessive but angry side as he describes Porphyria. The most striking similarity is they both have a selfish side. Sammy becomes a victim and the unnamed man becomes a perpetrator due to their infatuations, which lead to two very different endings.
Updike's main character, Sammy, is overwhelmed as three young ladies stroll in to the store where he is a cashier. Sammy observers closely as the girls move


from isle to isle describing their every move wondering if there is a "mind in there or just a buzz like a bee in a glass jar?' As if these girls dressed only in bathing suits, are nothing but mindless dolls there for his pleasure. He watches with contentment, his imagination runs wild as he finds himself in the girls living room with all the guests "picking up herring snacks on toothpicks" and "holding drinks the color of water with olives and spring mints in them". He compares this to his own family, as serving "Schlitz in tall g...


... middle of paper ...


...rever. All of her convictions are going along with his, " its love, am gained instead". The unnamed man became the perpetrator of his selfish infatuations believing that he has done both of them a favor, the undying love of two people who longed to be together.


These two very different works are close in correlation as for the actions and chauvinistic ways of the characters. Sammy and the lover's main conflict revolve around the prejudice of class status and restriction the apply. Sammy is stuck at the A&P, and goes unnoticed when he tries to be the hero to three girls out of his league. The lover is overwhelmed with the frustrations associated with his class status because it prevented him and Porphyria from marrying. The resentment both men feel against this prejudice prevent them from making sound decision that leave both lonely and empty handed in the end.


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