The A & P Vs. Porphyria's Lover

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McWherter 1 The A &P vs. Porphyria's Lover InJohn Updike's short story, "The A & P", he writes of an eighteen-year-old cashier who is infatuated with three girls that enter the store and in Robert Browning's poem, Porphyria's Lover, he writes of a man's intense passion for his lover. Even though these two works are different in context, they have very striking similarities. Updike's narrating main character, Sammy, is plagued by his middle class monotonous life style. He shows his possessive, but intuitive, side as he describes the girls in the story with great detail. Browning's narrating main character, a man unnamed is plagued by his deeply devoted love for his mistress and their inability to marry due to his low class status. He too, shows his possessive but angry side as he describes Porphyria. The most striking similarity is they both have a selfish side. Sammy becomes a victim and the unnamed man becomes a perpetrator due to their infatuations, which lead to two very different endings.

Updike's main character, Sammy, is overwhelmed as three young ladies stroll in to the store where he is a cashier. Gilbert Porter writes in his 1972 essay, "something about their demeanor suggests a remote, upper-class lifestyle that contrasts with his own" (319). Sammy observes closely as the girls move from isle to isle describing their every move, wondering if there is a "mind in there or just a little buzz like a bee in a glass jar?" (421). As if these girls, dressed only in bathing suits, are nothing but mindless dolls there for his pleasure. He watches with contentment, his imagination runs wild as he finds himself in the girls' living room with all the guests "picking up herring snacks on toothpicks" and "holding drinks the color of water...