A & P vs Araby: Compare & Contrast
During the adolescence stage, both boys and girls undergo a lot of change. It is the stage when we discover our sexuality and start being attracted to people of the opposite sex. I remember developing a very intense crush on one particular girl during my adolescence. I had gone out to this beautiful resort in our town one of the weekends when I meet her. I talked to her for a while and then retreated after running out of words to tell her. But the disappointing part came when I learned that she was from another city and that chances of ever meeting her again were minimal. My experience is similar to the experiences Sammy, in A & P and the main character in Araby go through. Both the stories are similar in terms of context as they involve young boys having a crush on beautiful young ladies but only to be disappointed in the end.
The first similarity in the stories’ context is that in both cases, a boy meets a beautiful girl. In A & P. Sammy, who works in a grocery store, spots three girls walking into the grocery store. The girls have nothing but their bathing suits and as they walk in, they create a stir. Sammy is particularly interested in the most beautiful girl among the three who also happens to be their leader. In his fantasies, Sammy gives her a pet name; Queenie. He describes it as having confidence and natural grace. In addition to that, he points out that she is beautiful. Sammy sees his future with “Queenie” as a perfect one. He notices his coworker, Stokesie, admiring the girl too but since he is married, Sammy points out that Stokesie’s future with that particular girl is a bleak one. In Araby, the narrator, a schoolboy who lives with his uncle, meets his playmate’s sister and falls in love with her. He, however, finds it hard to express the real feelings he has for his friend’s sister. The young narrator spends a lot of time watching her, but from a distance, and can’t help but think about her all the time. He points out that the gestures, physical features, and voice of Mangan’s sister fascinated him very much. Despite not having much to talk with the girl, the narrator tries very hard to get her attention.
Both the main characters in the stories have a crush on beautiful ladies who are evidently beyond them. In A & P, Sammy can’t help but fantasize about the girl from the moment she steps into the grocery store. The ways he vividly describes her body and the way she walks tells the reader that he is enchanted by the girl. He even goes to the extent of nicknaming her “Queenie” even before talking to her. He imagines his future with girls and points out that since his co-worker is already married; such a future won’t be possible for him. Sammy feels extremely excited when the girls pick out his checkout line to make the payment. Sammy thinks it’s cute when the girls reach her hands into her bikini top to remove a dollar which she uses to pay for the Kingfish Fancy Herring Snacks. This gesture makes the Herring snack jar in his hands to feel heavy. When Lengel, the store’s manager, rebukes the girls for coming to the store in bathing suits, Sammy feels bad. He thinks that it is not right for Lengel to embarrass the girls in public. In protest, he quits his job, hoping that the girl he has a crush on would appreciate this gesture. He is disappointed when he rushes to the parking lot only to find the girls long gone.
In Araby, the narrator clearly has a crush on Mangan’s sister. He is fascinated by her gestures, voice, and even physical features. The narrator describes how her hair tossed from one side to another and how her dress swung as she walked. This points out the extent to which he fancies her. He even goes to the extent of hiding in the front parlor of the girl’s house each morning on his way to school so that he could catch a glimpse of her. The readers are informed of how intense the narrator’s feelings are towards the girl despite the fact that they do not get to talk very much. The narrator becomes extremely excited when Mangan’s sister talks to her one day and asks him to go to Araby, a bazaar. The narrator is evidently shocked by this conversion and after recovering, he states that he will bring her something from Araby. The fact that the narrator can’t wait to get to Araby points out how intense his feelings are. Despite his uncle coming home late, the narrator can’t resist the urge of rushing to the bazaar to get something for “his love.” He feels angry after failing to purchase anything for his friend’s sister.
Both the boys in the stories are disappointed in the end. Sammy goes to the extent of quitting his job for a girl he barely knows. He hopes that quitting his job would be a positive gesture and that the girl he has just met will like him for this gesture. He goes on to quit his job despite the manager’s attempts to talk him out of doing so. He gets disappointed when he rushes to the parking lot only to find the girls long gone. He is dejected and wonders what the future holds for him having quit his job and failed to reach the girl of his dreams. In Araby, the narrator is very much determined to bring the girl he loves very much a present from the bazaar. He does not mind the fact that it is late and goes out to the market. He, however, fails to get anything and is left angry and disappointed in the market’s streets. Another important similarity in the stories’ context is that the girls are beyond the boys’ reach. In A & P, the reader is made to know that the girls are from an affluent family. Sammy goes ahead to compare his mum with the girl’s mum when she points out that it is her mother who sent her to get the herring snacks. In Araby, the narrator is so much enticed by the girl to the extent that he sees her as being beyond her. The fact that she is his playmate’s elder sister even makes it harder for him to reach her.
In conclusion, love can make us act in strange ways. It makes us visualize life as a perfect state and even makes it possible for us to see and plan the future with our perceived spouses. Sammy in A & P fantasizes about his future with “Queenie” while the narrator in Araby thinks about Mangan’s sister every other time. Love may also lead individuals into making wrong decisions which they come to regret later on. The choices made by the boys in both stories are regrettable as the readers find out at the end. In addition to that, the fact that life goes on should encourage individuals to move on even after a disappointing crush on a lady.