The Theme Of Growth In A & P And James Joyce's Araby

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Coming-of-age is a chapter that every individual must eventually trek through in order to grow and mature into one’s own self. In John Updike’s A&P and James Joyce’s Araby, the theme of growth permeates throughout the narratives as their respective protagonists fabricate an ideal world from their own naive perspectives, only to shed their ignorant fantasies about how they believe to understand that the world can bend to their decisions to truly understand the cruelty behind world they live in: reaching maturity through the loss of innocence. Dismissing the pragmatic aspects of life can lead to the downfall of a person’s ideals as they inevitably come to the realize that their dreams are impractical, and even impossible to bring to reality in…show more content…
The boy inevitably understands the futility of his actions, as if the entire world was acting against his efforts to impress the girl he was obsessed with; his determination is suppressed after making it so far and failing at the final step of his mission. The inciting hope that the conversation gave him combined with the obstacles he had to overcome only made his failure all the more bitter, but this harsh failure is the turning point that the boy needed in order to escape the childish and naive infatuation that he was experiencing. Failure was the lesson that made him understand that his love will remain unrequited, a realization that is the prerequisite for his maturity. In a similar fashion, John Updike’s A&P portrays the mundane life of a cashier named Sammy who works in a grocery store called A&P. Sammy observes the people around him — customers and fellow employees — and refers to them as “sheep” because of their conformity to society. The story begins as three girls clad in bikinis walk into the store; they instantly stand out and catch his
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