Within every story or poem, there is always an interpretation made by the reader, whether right or wrong. In doing so, one must thoughtfully analyze all aspects of the story in order to make the most accurate assessment based on the literary elements the author has used. Compared and contrasted within the two short stories, “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid, and John Updike’s “A&P,” the literary elements character and theme are made evident. These two elements are prominent in each of the differing stories yet similarities are found through each by studying the elements. The girls’ innocence and naivety as characters act as passages to show something superior, oppression in society shown towards women that is not equally shown towards men.
In each short story the character(s) the author highlights are young girls. This is first evident in the title alone in “Girl” where the title already gives the impression of a universally known stereotype as being young, and naïve. Although the title “A&P” does not suggest the same implication, within the story the reader learns quickly that the girls described in the story are in fact young, and innocent and lacking instruction just as the character in “Girl.” Understanding the characters is important because it sheds light on the reasons why they do what they do, and give reason to the plot. In which case, the characters even become the plot, such as the two short stories referenced. The girls described by Sammy in “A&P,” consume much of the story just by description, making it unmistakable their character. “...And then the third one, that wasn’t quite so tall. She was the queen. She kind of led them...” (Updike). Momentarily the reader is able to develop an image of these girls because everybody, young or old, most probably has been witness to this type of entourage throughout middle/high school. The girl being referred to by Sammy, Queenie, is oblivious to the fact she is stirring up the scene in the store, showing her naivety. Similarly, in “Girl” the fact that the young girl is being given instructions on how to behave as an adolescent girl by her mother, is reason to believe she is so inexperienced that her mother felt the instructions were necessary. The girls both have not realized the expectations society has upon the female population, nor the conseque...
... middle of paper ...
...her and daughter goes deeper than the surface, where mother daughter banter seems normal in this day and age. In actuality, during this oppressive state between Britain and the Caribbean, the mother favored British lifestyle and all that was affiliated with it, yet in opposition, the girl was anti- imperialism, therefore causing conflict among each other. In what seems to be a sort of monologue, “Girl” goes onto contain a theme involving political overtones less apparent and contrary to that of “A&P.”
In the stories written by John Updike and Jamaica Kincaid, both are completely different in terms of plot and the manner in which each were written, however through the elements of character and theme, the two can be closely associated to one another. By looking further into stories one will find that there is usually more than what meets the eye as illustrated in “Girl” and “A&P.”
1. Updike, John. A&P. Portable Literature. Comp. Laurie G.
Kirszner, and Stephen R. Mandell. Boston: Wadsworth, 2004. 74-79.
2. Kincaid, Jamaica. Girl. Portable Literature. Comp.
Laurie G. Kirszner, and Stephen R. Mandell. Boston: Wadsworth, 2004.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- I quit. These words can be attached to so many things in life. At times in life things seem to be different then they really are, for instance the thrill and the excitement of having a summer job or even successfully getting a first job. There are certain moments in a person’s life that will always have an impact on them one could call this a definitive moment or an epiphany. In the short story A&P by John Updike the main character Sammy has an epiphany in that he realizes that a moral line has been crossed in his working environment.... [tags: Essays on A&P]
990 words (2.8 pages)
- An Analysis of John Updike's A&P In his short story "A & P" John Updike utilizes a 19-year-old adolescent to show us how a boy gets one step closer to adulthood. Sammy, an A & P checkout clerk, talks to the reader with blunt first person observations setting the tone of the story from the outset. The setting of the story shows us Sammy's position in life and where he really wants to be. Through the characterization of Sammy, Updike employs a simple heroic gesture to teach us that actions have consequences and we are responsible for our own actions.... [tags: A&P Essays JOhn Updike Papers]
745 words (2.1 pages)
- Critical Analysis of John Updike's A&P John Updike's A&P provides numerous perspectives for critical interpretation. His descriptive metaphors and underlying sexual tones are just the tip of the iceberg. A gender analysis could be drawn from the initial outline of the story and Sammy's chauvinism towards the female. Further reading opens up a formalist and biographical perspective to the critic. After several readings I began seeing the Marxist perspective on the surreal environment of A&P.... [tags: John Updike A&P Essays]
806 words (2.3 pages)
- Sammy in A&P by John Updike Is where you are in your working career where you want to be for the rest of your life. The answer to that question is simple for Sammy in the story “A&P” by John Updike. Sammy, like many others in this world, is a young man trying to make some money in a small town. But unlike some, he refuses to be stuck in the same job for many years or possibly the rest of his life. One day while working the register at a local grocery store, Sammy notices three girls walk in.... [tags: A&P John Updike Working Careers Essays]
640 words (1.8 pages)
- John Updike's A&P In a small town everything is familiar and often taken for granted. In John Updike’s short story, A&P, the main character, Sammy, discovers a beauty unlike anything he has ever seen in his small town before. Queenie’s simple magnificence so stuns him that he quits his job in her defense. The narrator says: "Around they come, Queenie still leading the way, and holding a little gray jar in her hand. Slots Three through Seven are unmanned and I could see her wondering between Stokes and me, but Stokesie with his usual luck draws an old party in baggy gray pants who stumbles up with four giant cans of pineapple juice (what do these bums do with all that pineapple juice' I've... [tags: John Updike A&P Essays]
1029 words (2.9 pages)
- Interpretation of A&P This Story takes place in 1961, in a small New England town's A&P grocery store. Sammy, the narrator, is introduced as a grocery checker and an observer of the store's patrons. He finds himself fascinated by a particular group of girls. Just in from the beach and still in their bathing suits, they are a stark contrast, to the otherwise plain store interior. As they go about their errands, Sammy observes the reactions, of the other customers, to this trio of young women. He uses the word "Sheep" to describe the store regulars, as they seem to follow one and other, in their actions and reactions. The girls, however, appear to be unique in all aspects of their... [tags: John Updike A&P]
715 words (2 pages)
- A Feminist Reading of A&P Gone are the days that humans could live impulsively, only taking physical pain and pleasure into account when making decisions. Or so one would like to believe. In a display of sheer innocence and ignorance, Sammy, a grocery clerk at the A & P, managed to revert back to the original behavior patterns of his ape-like ancestors. One cannot possibly predict the future of Sammy, given his own illogical and irrational behavior. But one can, through a careful examination of Sammy's life, determine that Sammy is just a naive, young man whose impulsive acts, partly as a consequence of his upbringing, compel him to participate in a cause not worth fighting for, instead o... [tags: John Updike A&P]
1320 words (3.8 pages)
- The Motif of Play in A & P In the short story "A & P" the author, John Updike, uses the motif of play as one of the main means by which he develops the character of Sammy, the nineteen-year-old narrator and protagonist of the story. In his many and varied references to play, Sammy reveals, along with his obvious immaturity, his rich imagination and potential for possible growth. The story takes place in the summertime of 1960 on a Thursday afternoon. Sammy is employed at the A & P grocery store located in the middle of a town north of Boston, about five miles from the beach.... [tags: John Updike A&P]
1066 words (3 pages)
- Affirmation of Adulthood in Updike’s A&P Researching John Updike’s story, "A&P", I found many readers agreed that the main character Sammy is viewed as a hero or martyr for quitting his job at an A&P store in a northern beach town. I did, however, find that critics disagreed on why Sammy quit. Initially it appears that Sammy quits his job to impress girls who were reprimanded for wearing bathing suits in the A&P. Sammy did not ultimately quit his job to be the hero for three girls who happened to walk into this A&P.... [tags: A&P Essays]
1015 words (2.9 pages)
- Trapped by Society in John Updike's A&P People often take their place in society for granted. They accept that position into which they are born, grow up in it, and pass that position on to their children. This cycle continues until someone is born who has enough vision to step out of his circle and investigate other ways of life in which he might thrive. One such person is embodied in the character of Sammy in A&P, by John Updike. Sammy is the narrator of the story and describes an incident in the store where he encounters a conflict between the members of two completely different worlds the world that he was born into and the world of a girl that captures his mind.... [tags: A&P Essays]
785 words (2.2 pages)