By Kathleen Wilson
This quantity offers details on 20 brief tales. It includes concise synopses of the storys' plots, characters and issues in addition to a quick writer biography, a dialogue of the story's cultural and ancient importance and excerpted feedback.
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Additional info for Short Stories for Students: Volume 3 Presenting Analysis, Context and Criticism on Commonly Studied Short Stories
A & P" holds the secular materialism of Updike's own day up for comparison against the slowly imploding, Englishdominated Irish Catholicism of the mid-1890s— and, behind it, the fervor of Protestant evangelism in Bunyan's seventeenth century. As critics have often noted, few non-Catholic writers in America make issues of religious faith and doubt as important in their fictions as does Updike. In Victorian Dublin, redolent with the musty odor of incense, parochial schools, and the litter of dead priests, the Araby bazaar, a romanticized, pseudo-Oriental pavilion created by the fund raisers of the Jervis Street Hospital, stands incongruously pagan and temporary.
His reflections on this topic permit him a kindly smirk not only at his own family's lower middle-class predilections but also at their better's sartorial usages. "Ice-cream coats" is his mocking name for their formal summer attire. Of his own eventual settling into or battling to gain or retain a standing in the social hierarchy, he is merrily unaware. Sammy shamelessly ogles the three girls and reports on his sudden bodily weakness when one of them hands him a dollar bill taken from her bodice, but when McMahon, who works behind ' 'the meat counter," follows them with his eyes while "patting his mouth" in the embarrassed simulation of yawning boredom, Sammy watches without an iota of masculine fellow feeling.
Like a hero in a story by J. D. Salinger performing a quixotic gesture, Sammy accepts the role of the girls' unsuspected hero and announces to Lengel that he quits. He does not agree with his parents that the outcome is sad. Someone must stand up for embarrassed teen-agers in bathing suits with straps down. But this quixotic gesture does him no good. The girls never hear him declare himself their protector, and they do not wait for him in the parking lot with favors and thanks. " Sammy does not want to quit his job, but he believes that he must go through with the gesture.
Short Stories for Students: Volume 3 Presenting Analysis, Context and Criticism on Commonly Studied Short Stories by Kathleen Wilson