"A And P" A Return To "Araby" : The Americanization Of "Araby"

2954 words - 12 pages

John Updike is known for approaching works of literature that he finds fascinating and writing related stories, with his own spin. Updike seems to have a special affinity for Dubliners. Never was this more apparent in Updike's short story, "A & P." This short story has striking resemblances to "Araby," by James Joyce, who was from Ireland. These two tales both tell a story of a poor, sometimes desperate, romantically infatuated young boy. This boy, though tempted by the slowness of common life, and journeys with innocent urgency, finds out the disillusionments of love the hard way. Their love, or more appropriately named lust, seems to fade away as a facade, turning their thoughts about the women they desire into a harsh reality that frustrate and embitters them. Some have said that "A & P" was America's Araby, and when one examines these stories closely there are several pieces that hold this theory together. "Araby" by James Joyce and "A & P" by John Updike are two stories, which, in spite of their many differences, have much in common. In both of these stories, the protagonists move from one stage of life to another and encounter disillusionment along the way. I believe that there are several similarities between "Araby" and "A & P" that deal with symbolism of religion, life, love, and imagery; Many people may think that these similarities are coincidences, but I believe that there is a deeper meaning.To establish the grounds for an argument you must first understand the poems and to understand these poems, or at least to understand where many thoughts about similarities between the two come from, or contrasting thoughts come from, it is necessary to commit the pathetic fallacy, and look at the lives of these two novelists. James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was born on February 2nd, 1882. He was an eccentric Irish writer and poet, who is widely considered to be one of the most influential writers of the 20th Century. Although Joyce did spend most of his adult life outside the country of Ireland, his experiences with the country are essential to his writings and provide most of the settings for his fictions and much of their subject matter (Wells 1)."Araby" is a story of wishful thinking and longing for what will never be. It begins with a young boy who lives on a dead end street. This young boy dreams of "Mangan's sister" who lives near his house. He seems to be mesmerized by her physical specimen, detailing everything about her and noticing every inch of her body. The image of her seems to haunt him all the time, even when he tries to pray. One day, he actually encounters Mangan's sister, and she asks whether he plans to go to the "Araby", or bazaar on Saturday night. She herself wants to go, but she can't because she must attend a religious retreat at the convent. He thinks that this is his big chance to impress her by getting her a gift. On Saturday he waits for his uncle to come home. His uncle does not get home till nine...

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