In the following paper, I have my purpose to find connections between the stories “A&P” by John Updike and “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Both of them reveal some important experiences from the lives of two young men who protest against society they live in and its common practices. After a closer look it becomes evident that both stories have an important life lesson concerning true values to teach their readers.
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Speaking about the titles of the stories, it should be stated that they are both related to the conflicts the main protagonists face. In “A&P” Sammy, the main protagonist, protests against common rules accepted in the A&P shop chain. In “Young Goodman Brown” the main character protests against the principles of the puritan society he lives in and the word “Goodman” is an irony to reveal this.
When it comes to the speakers’ conflict we see that in “A&P”, it arises around the three girls who appear in a public place, which is a shop where the narrator works, in an inappropriate appearance: “In walks three girls in nothing but bathing suits” (Updike 1026). Lengel, the shop’s manager, explains to the girls that they are dressed inappropriately for the case and asks them to live the place. Sammy protests against their “mistreatment” by the shop’s manager. In “Young Goodman Brown” the conflict develops around the main protagonist, his family and the society they live in. He is upset with the hypocrisy of all those around him, even his wife Faith. “My Faith is gone! There is no good on earth; and sin is but a name”, he said on that sad night when he discovered real faces of people around him (Hawthorne 127).
Discussing the speakers’ attitudes, it is evident that they are both very much concerned about the things to happen. In “A&P”, Sammy’s attitude to what happens in the story is very emotional. He openly protests against the rules he does not like even though it is a risk for his future and this will definitely upset his close ones and might affect his future career. “I said I quit”, Sammy says to the manager in despair revealing the measure of his objection against the A&P rules (Updike 1028). Speaking about Goodman’s attitude, it is also evident how deeply he was struck with the things he saw on the night which changed his entire outlook on life: “on the Sabbath day when the congregation was singing a holy psalm, he could not listen because an anthem of sin rushed loudly upon his ear and drowned all the blessed strain” (Hawthorne 129). The overall tone of each work is really thought-provoking. Both stories encourage their readers to really think about what is happening around, and the society they live in.
Concluding on everything discussed above, it becomes evident that the two stories have a very important life lesson to learn. By the end of the story, Sammy realized that his deed was senseless as Queenie has not even noticed his heroic act for her. He was “hoping they’ll stop and watch [him], their unsuspected hero”, but this has never happened (Updike 1029).In the case of Goodman Brown, he came to hate people, became a cynic, and lost his faith totally, even in his wife Faith. Goodman Brown’s example encourages the reader to think about such difficult issues as the need to have faith in something valuable, the problem of hypocrisy, and the issue of cynicism.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel, et al. Literature: A World of Writing Stories, Poems, Plays, and Essays. The UK: Longman, 2010. Print.
Updike, John, et al. The Harper Anthology of Fiction. New York: HarperCollins, 1996. Print.
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