Compare And Contrast John Updike And Boys And Girls

Decent Essays

After reading “A&P” by John Updike and Alice Munro’s “Boys and Girls”, a centralized theme arose. Each story’s protagonist demonstrates a unique internal struggle centered on the restrictions society places upon them. Even though the short stories written by John Updike and Alice Munro are remarkably different from each other, it is possible for a reader to interpret similarities between the two. A&P is the story of a nineteen-year-old boy, Sammy, who is fighting against the expectation to blindly accept the social norms of society and follow the dull, routine life set before him. Sammy currently works as a cashier at the local A&P supermarket and describes the customers shopping within A&P as sheep, houseslaves and pigs being loaded into a chute. He yearns to be something more than a chain climbing employee like his co-worker, Stokesie, or his boss, Lengel, who haggles over cabbages and hides in the manager’s office all day. When three young teenage girls enter the store wearing nothing but bathing suits, things begin to change for Sammy. Sammy takes notice of the actions of the girls; how they go against the normal “traffic flow” of the supermarket and break the social rules of society with their attire. It is these attributes that attract Sammy to them, as they represent freedom and escape from the life he finds himself in. When Lengel approaches them and reprimands them for what they are wearing, Sammy quits in the hopes of becoming the girls unsuspected hero.

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