A&P and Araby Youthful Growing Pains Research Paper

These stories; Araby written by James Joyce and A&P written by John Updike, draw attention to a number of the common problems which youths face when approaching adulthood. These two stories are of young men that are pictured to be hit with the unsettling understanding of the fantasies and the brutal reality of romance. They talk about a man who is currently in the development phase due to romance and love. Along the way, these men suffer emotional problems. A major similarity existing between both stories is the major characters are impractical and they both have weird expectations from women. This caused them to show women lots of affection which is not fully reciprocated and this causes them to be heartbroken and sad. They don’t enjoy any rewards from the love and affection they give to women but instead they face rejection severally and sometimes, they are unable to handle it.

The major cause of pain suffered by a male reaching adulthood is love and affection for a totally unreachable girl who unintentionally gets the young man into an intense emotional and sexual frenzy that he starts to mistake “sexual impulses for those of honor and chivalry” (Saldivar 215). This issue of self-deception is what both stories focus on. The young and developing man is traumatized emotionally as he has to “compensate for the emptiness and longing in the young boy’s life” (Saldivar 210). Even though Joyce’s original work is markedly different from Updike’s rendition, both pieces are also closely related. Just like the Updike Story, James Joyce’s Araby highlights the suffering faced by humans due to love. In Araby, the narrator falls in love with Mangan’s (his friend) sister. He is an adolescent and thus his feelings of affection are painful, confusing and bedeviling.

“My eyes were often full of tears, (I could not tell why)… I did not know whether I would ever speak to her or not or, if I spoke to her, how I could tell her of my confused adoration. but my body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running on the wires.” (Joyce 2)

A similar situation is seen in A&P by Updike, here, youths go through pain as they attempt to impress girls. An example is Sammy who resigned from his job as a form of protest against the maltreatment of the girls, with the hope of impressing them. This is a perfect example of self-deceit which the two stories focus on where the young man is emotionally traumatized and has no choice but to move on after suffering rejection from the girls.

In both stories, the boys come to terms with the sad fact that girls do not desire them or their company. This causes a sort of self-awakening and it also demonstrates how misery can be depressing and can cause suffering. All the gifts which the young men offered their preferred girls were appreciated. Irrespective of their efforts, the young men suffer huge failure in winning the hearts of their loved ladies. Sammy understands that the action he…

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