Essay about Comparing the Female Protagonists in Groundhog Day and A & P

Essay about Comparing the Female Protagonists in Groundhog Day and A & P

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Role of the Female Protagonists in Groundhog Day and A & P

   Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray, is a film about a television weatherman named Phil who relives the same day, 2 March, over and over again. A & P is a short story by John Updike in which a cashier, Sammy, has his routine day disrupted when three girls wearing swimming suits stroll into the grocery store where he works and are confronted by the manager. Though their storylines vary greatly, in both works the main character in each is a self-centered, condescending male who eventually realises the flaws in his character. This realisation is, in part, brought out by supernatural forces in Groundhog Day and by a manager's harsh words in A & P. However, in each work, the female protagonist, Rita in Groundhog Day and the character nicknamed 'Queenie' in A & P, acts as a catalyst, inspiring and motivating the main character to change.



At the beginning of each work, the main character is self-centered, unempathetic and condescending. Phil shows this in his treatment of others: his snide remarks to his cameraman (Larry), his mockery of Rita's groundhog impersonation, his rude dismissal of his admittedly obnoxious former schoolmate and his contempt for the small town of Punxsatawney and its citizens. In Groundhog Day , Sammy refers to his customers as "pigs" and "sheep". He calls the elderly "bums" and describes housewives as being "houseslaves". He describes his manager, Lengel as being "dreary" and wonders whether girls even have minds. Both characters seem to look down on everyone around them.



Into the lives of these two self-centered men enter the female protagonists Rita and Queenie, who represent everything t...

... middle of paper ...

...self apart from the pigs and sheep of society.



Without the inspiration from Rita and Queenie, respectively, Phil and Sammy would not have been able to make the realisations that they did. Though Phil and Sammy's interest in them may have been initially motivated by sexual and/or romantic desire, this desire eventually led the men to reconsider their self-centered view of the world. Thus, though the characters of Rita and Queenie are never fully developed, they serve as both the motivation and the inspiration for the change that is central to both works. As the saying goes: "Behind every great man is a great woman."



Works Cited


Groundhog Day, Columbia/Tristar Studios 1993


Updike, John. "A & P." The Bedford Introduction to Literature. 2nd Edition. Ed. Michael Meyer. Boston: St. Martin's Press, 1990. 407-411.

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