Teenage Boys Dealing with Current Situations in Regards to Their Futures: An Analysis of Theme in Three Stories
The short stories "A&P," written by John Updike, "Paul's Case," written by Willa Cather, and "I'm a Fool," written by Sherwood Anderson, all address the issue of teenage boys dealing with their futures. Although the stories are similar in that aspect, they are different in that each boy deals with his current situation in regards to his higher goals and dreams in a different way. The fictional elements tone, symbolism, and dramatic irony are used in these short stories. There are many similarities and differences in the characters, and each of the authors uses a different literary device to express this. Updike emphasizes tone in "A&P," Cather emphasizes symbolism in "Paul's Case," and Anderson emphasizes dramatic irony in "I'm a Fool."
John Updike's "A&P" is about a nineteen-year-old boy, Sammy, who stands up for himself and the changing times of his generation.
The tone of the story is mostly light and somewhat nostalgic, as Updike takes the reader through a teenage boy's encounter with three girls in a grocery store, where the boy works. The girls have just come in from the beach and are wearing bathing suits. Queenie, the leader of the girls, has pulled down the straps of her one piece bathing suit, scandalously baring her shoulders. Updike describes Sammy's feelings about the girls as if he himself were a teenager again, remembering what it was like to be nineteen.
The tone becomes more serious when the owner, a friend of Sammy's parents, embarrasses the girls by telling them that they must have their shoulders covered. This event represents the difference between generations and the changing times. Because Sammy does not agree with this...