In John Updike's short story, the narrator Sammy, works in a small town at a local grocery store. He is 19 years old and becomes infatuated with some young girls that walk into the A & P grocery store. During the time period that this story takes place people are not accustomed to seeing girls walk around in their two piece bathing suits at the store and that’s exactly what the girls do. Sammy liked what the girls were doing and he really had his eyes set on Queenie. At the end of the story Sammy’s manager has a few harsh words with the girls for coming into the store with their bathing suits on. Sammy ends up quitting because he does not like or agree with what his manager has said. This is where Sammy’s whole life begins to shift. “Looking back in the big windows, over the bags of peat moss and aluminum lawn furniture stacked on the pavement, I could see Lengel in my place in the slot, checking the sheep through. His face was dark and gray and his back stiff, as if he’d just received an injection of iron, and my stomach kind of fell as I felt how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter.”(Updike 145)
This sudden shift that had taken place was not caused by a young man’s hormonal drive for a woman. Instead it was Sammy’s decision to transform from a young boy into a man. Sammy refuses to become a “sheep” like everyone else. This is voiced in the following passage, “The sheep pushing their carts down the aisle-the girls were walking against the usual traffic (not that we have one-way signs or anything)-were pretty hilarious. You could see them, when Queenie’s white shoulders dawned on them, kind of jerk, or hop, or hiccup, but their eyes snapped back in their own baskets and on they pushed.”(Updike 142)
Sammy did not want to fall into the everyday norm society; he wanted to be different. He was 19 years old and working for a grocery store which signified that there might not have been a lot of opportunities in the area he was living in. He was not in school and even his manager Lengel said that he would regret what he was doing. Also Lengel was a close family friend so he knew where Sammy came from. The grocery store might have been what his career was going to be. Sammy still made his decision to stand up for what he believed in and toak actions into his own hands. The Sammy I am introduced to in the beginning of the story, by the end of his story his whole demeanor has changed. He’s not just a 19 year old kid anymore he’s part of the working world as we know it. He becomes a man and realizes that life is not always going to be fair or full of happy endings. He has accepted that life will be hard and that’s his choice.
“Araby’, is a short story written by Joyce. Joyce uses a young unamed boy as her narrator. In the short story it focuses on happiness, fantasy, and darkness. The narrator strguggles between fantasy and reality. The young boy finds himself stuck between a fantasy because he is infatuated with his friend’s sister. He hides in the shadows and watches her like a stalker. He has obviously