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Comparison and Contrast of the Main Characters in "A & P" and "Araby"

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  • Essay length: 1598 words
  • Submitted: 28/01/2005
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University Degree James Joyce

The first 200 words of this essay...

Caitlin Hargrove

Professor Sterr

English 2

1 November 2004

Comparison and Contrast of the Main Characters in "A & P" and "Araby"

Mordecai Marcus defines an initiation story as one that shows "a young protagonist experiencing a significant change of knowledge about the world or himself...and this change must point or lead him toward an adult life" (1960). As seen in John Updike's "A & P" and James Joyce's "Araby," both of the main characters are confronted by situations that bring them to "thresholds of maturity and understanding." Marcus classifies initiation stories based upon one of three levels that a character passes through during their struggle towards wisdom and clarification. Although both characters from "A & P" and "Araby" make it to this passageway toward adulthood, Sammy from "A & P" passes farther through Marcus's levels of initiation than does the narrator of "Araby." Despite the narrator of "Araby's" progress, Sammy matures more after his initiation as he appreciates his struggle and lessons learned more than the character in "Araby" by accepting his fate and moving forward instead of dwelling over his circumstances and blaming others for his frustration.

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