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The Muse of the Master.

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The Muse of the Master

        The two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, John Updike who is renowned for his idiosyncratic style of writing is easily recognizable and distinguishable from other authors for this uniqueness of his. Updike’s choice of words and phrases along with his arrangement of these in sentences and paragraphs adds both originality and unequalled mastery to his literary works, one of the being “A & P”. This narrative of his is peppered with distinctive diction, original figurative language and innovative sentence structure that makes it beyond doubt a literary masterpiece of his. Updike’s style goes way beyond the simplicity of being able to correctly use Standard English but instead he uses this particular style to deepen the meaning of the story, determine the pace at which the story is told and brings out vividly how directly he is able to relate the story to the reader. John Updike’s use of mid-style, which is a combination of simplistic and complex styles, creates a literary window

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Updike makes the first-person narrator so effective because he allows the reader to identify with Sammy. Updike refrains from using polysyllabic or archaic words to make his story difficult to comprehend, but instead uses simplistic diction, which allows anyone and everyone to understand what he wants to convey. When Updike uses extremely colloquial connotative words like “witch” (802) and “bums” (804) to describe adult customers, he makes the reader recognize Sammy’s rejection and disgust for adult authority and thus making the reader empathize with him, especially when he strongly describes “the three girls in nothing but bathing suits.” (802). Updike’s diction invokes a strong sense of realism in Sammy and therefore the reader can readily recognize the hopes, fears, concerns and ambitions of the protagonist. Updike very skillfully through diction, extenuates the setting, conflict and theme but also portrays his characters in such a way that they seem to have lives beyond the strict boundaries of the mere short story.

Although John Updike openly displays simplistic style, simultaneous he

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Updike’s exceptional use of syntax.  

        The extreme importance of style and the many aspects associated with it such as word choice and syntax is revealed very clearly in “A & P”, especially when John Updike elaborates on the behaviors, thoughts, and feelings of the main character and narrator of the short story. In the large scope of things, we see that style is just another tool craftily used by authors such as John Updike to support and complement the main elements of their literary masterpieces. Updike’s style in “A & P” is brilliant and magnificent, because we see how he is able to enliven the story just through his choice of words and masterful structuring of his sentences. John Updike is this short story, has more than proven that idiosyncratic style is absolutely crucial and fundamental to any good piece of literary work.  

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