A Clean Well-Lighted Place

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A Clean Well-Lighted Place

Today in class we talked about plot in relation to "A & P" by John Updike. I had always thought of plot as just being the sequence of events, but after our reading assignment I realize that there is much more to it. I’d never thought of looking for plot in things like patterns. My reaction to "A & P" is mixed because I disagree with the main character being a hero (as Updike intended). While reading the story I thought that the girls who came into the store were merely looking for attention. I feel this way because the girls were prancing around in their bathing suits, which was probably a big deal in 1961, and the fact that ‘Queenie’ kept her money between her breasts shows that she was obviously trying to provoke a reaction. Other than the fact that one of the girls blushed when asked to leave I don’t think they were embarrassed and I don’t think the main character was trying to be particularly heroic. I gathered from all the sexual description that he was only interested in the girls physically. I also think that he just hated his job at the A & P because it was boring, since he always refers to the customers as a type of farm animal, and was just looking for an excuse to quit. What better excuse to quit than one that might make him look good to some cute girls? He would be through with his boring job and might score a date.

We also talked about point of new in relation to "Why I Live at the P.O." by Eudora Welty today. I’ve never read anything where I really didn’t trust the narrator like in this story. I though the story was confusing because I could never figure out who was telling the truth. Sister seemed to have a very slanted view on things and thought that everyone was ‘out to get her’. Since the story was told from her (an unreliable narrator) point of view it gave me a feeling of turmoil like I have when I experience an argument in my own home. In that way Welty achieved her goal of making the reader feel involved in the story. I guess that Welty explained why Sister lives at the P.O., but I don’t understand why she thought anyone would care.

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