Saturday, August 17, 2019

A+P vs Araby

Araby and A&P are both short stories, written by famous authors. Although they were written in different times, as well as in different countries, they have many similarities. These similarities can be found both in their contexts and their settings. Both stories are about young men, leading dull lives, and who go through a major change by the end of the story, while trying to get away from their lives. In both stories this change takes place while trying to please a female who triggers something inside them, causing them to act.Araby and A&P are stories of unsuccessful attempts to escape from ordinary lives, only in different ways. What catches the readers’ attention in both stories first, are the settings. In both stories the protagonists describe the neighborhoods and the daily life in the cities that they live in, in detail. While they make these descriptions, telling the reader about the neighborhood through their eyes, they also give information about their mindscapes, a nd we understand what they think of the places they live in. The boy in Araby uses many negative words while describing the setting. ‘‘†¦ ninhabited†¦ blind end†¦ detached†¦ imperturbable†¦ dark†¦ muddy ( pg 427)’’ That is how we empathize with him: being able to picture the dullness and the gloominess of that city in Ireland, and also its detachedness from other places. Similarly, Sammy in A&P describes the town he lives in by referring to everyone around him as sheep, vividly describing the distinction between the beach and his town, which causes us to again picture a small town with many mostly older people who lead uneventful lives, and a young boy who has lived there and worked in the same shop all his life. ‘†¦ all three of them went up to the cat-and-dog-food-breakfast-cereal-macaroni-rice-raisins-seasonings-spreads-spaghetti-soft drinks-crackers-and-cookies aisle. ’’(pg 865) In this way we know that both characters are not happy with the lives they are leading. They have no ambitions and nothing to hold on to. Everything they talk about sounds too simple. With nothing to hold on to, both characters are in search of something that will give them the courage to do something different, something that will spice up their lives.For the boy in Araby, the escape from his boring everyday life comes with his love for a girl. She is the only light in his dark life, his only source for joy. He devotes himself to this girl so much that she becomes a god-like figure. ‘‘The light from the lamp caught the white curve on her neck, lit up her hair that rested there and, falling, lit up the hand upon the railing. (pg 429)’’ The same thing happens to Sammy when the three girls in bathing suits come into the store that he is working at. The leading girl of the group, who he calls ‘Queeny’, is different from everyone he knows in the town.He is fascinated by her. ‘†¦ just her, this clean bare plane of the top of her chest down from the shoulder bones like a dented sheet of metal tilted in the light. I mean, it was more than pretty. (pg 865)’’ The girl is the long-awaited lights in Sammy’s life. Since they are fascinated by these girls so much, the boys can’t stand their being sad. The girl in Araby is sad because she is not able to go to a festival that she wants to go to, where as ‘Queenie’ is sad because she has been scolded in front of everyone by the manager of the market.The boys, finally having found something to fight for. They feel themselves as their saviors. The boy in Araby feels like it is his duty and responsibility to make the girl happy. ‘‘I imagined that I bore my chalice safely through a throng of foes. (pg 428)’’ In the same way, Sammy in A&P quits his job, thinking he is now the girl’s hero, who stood up against his boss to save he r from the embarassment. ‘‘So I say ‘I quit’ to Lengel quick enough for them to hear, hoping they’ll stop and watch me, their unsuspected hero. pg 868)’’ It is not long before both of them realize that it was not actually worth it, and that what they had imagined weren’t actually true. The boy realizes that he is not capable of doing what he was trying to do. He is too young to be buying a gift with the little money he has, from a big bazaar, and for a girl much older that he is. Sammy realizes that in reality he can not do anything else other than to be a cashier at a supermarket. They both understand that they were not actually who they thought they were.The boy in Araby was never going to be the lover of the girl he loved, and Sammy was never the girls’ hero. After these realizations they both find themselves in an emptiness, having suddenly lost the mission of their lives. The boy is angry with himself (I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger(pg 431)) and Sammy doesn’t know what to do next. ‘‘My stomach kind of fell as I felt how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter. (pg 869)’’ But they both know it is going to be

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