Born in 1882, James Joyce was a prominent Irish of the twentieth century from Dublin. James Joyce’s literary works include literary innovation that depicts a narrative and indirect writing style. Notably, James Joyce’s life in Dublin influenced his writing style especially his creative writing. He wrote the short fictional story, Araby in 1914. On the other hand, John Updike was an American artist born in Pennsylvania in 1932. He grew up in an environment filled with fiction and his mother was an inspiration to his writing. He was a staff writer in international media where he published poetry, essays, and fiction. John Updike wrote the comic story A&P in 1961.
The 19-year-old boy, Sammy is the main character in the story, A&P by John Updike (Updike 1) while a nameless young boy is the main character in the short story, Araby by James Joyce. As such, the main characters in both stories are young men, which define their inexperience and immaturity in dealing with various matters addressed in the two stories. Updike presents Sammy as a young man with a strong sexual urge and observational power (Updike 1). Sammy derives sarcasm and various opinions in the story where he interprets every detail he sees. Mostly, the detail of the girls’ physical appearance that includes the patterns of their bathing suits and lining of their bodies overwhelms Sammy (Updike 1). The author uses a casual and poetic language to describe how Sammy talks. Indeed, Sammy uses a common slang and sharp wit to show that despite the fact that he is young and uneducated; he is intelligent and capable of using imagery like where he uses the term “oaky” to describe a girl’s hair (Updike 1).
In the story, Sammy uses a colloquial voice, present tense, and first-person narration to show that Sammy does not represent the author (Updike 1). As such, Sammy has a limited opinion on what he says though he seems to be telling the truth. Sammy goes for detailed observations like where he offers a copious analysis of the three girls who came to buy some snacks in bathing suits at the A&P where he was a cashier (Updike 1). The detailed observation defines his illogical urge to beauty and the mystery in the male gaze. He ironically develops a sense of superiority and uniqueness that drives him to quit his job to prove his desire for Queenie. This manifests his irrational thinking and immaturity since the girls did not notice his intention to quit and he had to regret his decision (Updike 1). His desire for Queenie dents his entire life as he seeks to live a sophisticated life with the freedom to disregard the social norms, which was beyond his maturity and limited experience.
On the other hand, James Joyce presents the story of a young man who is on a journey to a deserted bazaar where the reality of life dawns on him (Joyce 1). Despite his young age, poverty, and inexperience, the young boy falls in love with his friend’s sister, Mangan. The story presents the confusing, immature, and painful feelings of attraction of a young man with a Christian background (Joyce 1). Every day, the main character stayed in a position where he can see Mangan leave her house across the street and walk behind her all the way to school. Although the two barely talk, Mangan once asked the main character if he would go to Araby which was a new Arabian bazaar (Joyce 1).
The young boy seizes the moment to express his romantic notions by telling her that he will go and bring her a gift. The author uses a literary effect to show how the journey to Araby was effective in informing the young man of the realities in maturity (Joyce 1). Indeed, the realities of life dawned on him when he arrived at Araby late where most of the stalls were closed and in total darkness (Joyce 1). This signifies the uncertainties and challenges in maturity. Indeed, the goods at Araby were equally too expensive for him and hence he could not buy the gift. Just like Sammy, the young boy experienced the reality of life in a harsh way (Joyce 1). Indeed, both Sammy and the young boy were trying to live beyond their means that manifests their inexperience, immaturity, and irrational thinking.
On the contrary, Updike presents Lengal as an authority figure with a good sense and control of life despite being a young man (Updike 1). Lengal believes that girls can derive power and have a strong positive desire if they ignore men’s interests (Updike 1). Indeed, he condemns the men’s view of women as sex objects who are subject to men’s sexual interests. Indeed, despite having some degree of sexual interest, Lengal seeks to undermine the negative power of women by confronting and embarrassing them for dressing provocatively (Updike 1). Lengal understands that men respond with their hormones and hence condemns the provocative dressing by the girls with an aim of upholding the social norms, controlling the men’s sexual desire, and protecting the women from negative power. Lengal enforces social rules and negates the idea that bath suits disrupted the system of rules thus forcing men to behave in an awkward manner (Updike 1).
In conclusion, I see that the two authors presented the two main characters as young, inexperienced, immature, and irrational thinkers with high sexual interests. Indeed, the two characters depict men’s dominant sexual interest in women. The two characters seek to live beyond their means to satisfy their sexual interest but the realities of life judge them harshly. Lengal is a rational, modern, and mature thinker who faces life in a respectable manner. As such, Lengal contradicts the two main characters.
Works Cited Joyce, James. Araby.1994. Web. 17 May 2014. < http://fiction.eserver.org/short/araby.html> Updike, John. A&P. Web. 17 May 2014. < http://www.tiger-town.com/whatnot/updike/>