Literature Assignments

Subject: Psychology
Type: Compare and Contrast Essay
Pages: 8
Word count: 2058
Topics: Emotions, Art Comparison, Book, Fiction, Friendship, Love

For this assignment, the storybook to focus on is called “A&P” by John Updike while the graphic novel is titled“Lumberjanes”thatwas a created by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, Brooke A. Allenand Grace Ellis. During the course of this unit, we have been able to study 6 different elements of fiction which includes the summary, setting, character, style, themes, and point of view. Hence, it can be said that summary is the plot of the storyline that is presented in a brief description. Characters are the literal figures that form the foundation of the work; the storyline portrays the fictional figures as real. Additionally, setting combines the physical or fictional location, historical period and social environment when the story occurred; it gives the storyline a timeframe to relate to. Besides, they style is the flow of the literal work that gives it a voice to help it stand out among many other works. Themes are the topics which the story revolves about to give the work an essence of what are the dominating ideas as well as giving the moral message of the work. Lastly, the point of view is the angle of the narrator from which the story is given; it reflects the position between first person and third person narrator which the storyline is presented to the reader. 

In the A&P story, the work is presented in first person narrator where a young teenager by the name Sammy reports on what is happening from his point of view. The setting of this story is in a supermarket setup in a city. Also, the characters in this story are three teenage girls, a teenage clerk named Sammy who checks groceries and his boss known as Lengel. The plot of this story is a narration of three young teenage girls who enter into the A&P store to shop when wearing swimsuits that are meant to be beach clothes. Sammy who works at the store is the narrator and he records how the scenes unfold. People are amazed that the ladies had the guts to shop in those outfits since that was a rare occurrence as the narrator states “it’s one thing to have a girl in a bathing suit down on the beach….. and another thing in the cool of the A & P” (Updike 22). Contrariwise, Sammy is fascinated and sexually attracted to their leader, Queenie, who she describes as “more than pretty”. When his boss notices them, he informs them of their indecent dressing which was against the store’s policy. By that time, Sammy had already fallen in love with the lady she refers as Queenie and when she comes followed by her friends to be served at the cashier, Sammy says as they hurriedly leave that he had quit his job since the manager had embarrassed the ladies. The manager warns him of his decision but he says that “once you begin a gesture it’s fatal not to go through with it” (Updike 22). He quits so that he may impress the ladies asa hero who stood up to defend them but the ladies never pay attention to that but walks away; when Sammy leaves the store to follow them he fails to see them anywhere and it hits him that life will be hard for him from that moment. Hence, the themes of this story are women discrimination, love, consumerism behaviors.

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On the other hand, Lumberjanes is a story of 5 ladies who are in a Lumberjane camp who fight for their lives in a courageous and witty manner. The Characters in the storyline include Jo, April, Ripley, Mal and Molly who are good friends, there is also Jen who is their counselor and Rosie their camp director. The setting of the story is a camp environment that is close to a forested area. Besides, the style of the literature is fun, humorous, and quirky to go well with the traits of the characters. The point of view in the story shifts from the first to third person according to how the narrator wishes. This gives the story a combined sense of reporting as well as engaging the reader in the conversations as though they were part of it. Likewise, the summary of this storyline revolves around the 5 ladies who are ready to defend their friendship by facing all the challenges that come their way such as supernatural creatures; they combined their forces and utilized their diverse abilities to win. The camp director tells the counselor that “those girls don’t NEED you to punch a bear. They can do that on their own. What they really need is someone smart and practical” (Watters et al., 33). Hence, some of the major themes are power of a girl child, adventure, friendship, and humor. 

In the two stories, A&P and Lumberjanes, there are similarities that are depicted in the storylines. Firstly, the issue of the power of the girl child is evident in A&P when Queenie and her friends choose to use beauty as their source of girl power and they manage to cause a scene in the A&P stores. Conversely, the 5 girls in Lumberjanes choose to prove to the world that girls also can use their mind power and strength to get things done. This shows that female characters can choose what they want to be their source of strength in life. Secondly, there is the aspect of being focused and determined which in A&P makes the 3 ladies wearing swimsuits to force their way to do shopping in a store after going against the set policies; this helped them to get what they wanted without being intimidated although everybody was staring at them. Likewise, in the Lumberjanes’storyline, the 5 girls were able to defeat the supernatural creatures because they were determined and went against the set societal norms that ladies cannot fight for themselves and their fellow ladies. Finally, it is worth noting that another similarity is the theme of friendship which in both storylines thrives in a consistent manner; in A&P they 3 ladies were so attached to each other to the point of wearing what their leader put on and they never blamed each other when the store manager reprimanded them. On Lumberjanes the 5 girls were able to keep their friendship regardless of their character differences; they combined forces in all challenges without magnifying each other’s weaknesses.

The related poem is Twenty-year Marriage by Ai which discusses the theme of love and friendship. The poem is about a lover who has been neglected by her husband for about 20 years and she passionately woos him to come as she has been patiently waiting for him to come and sexually fulfill her desire. This shows how women crave for love, belonging, sexual desire and acceptance from their husbands.Besides, she seems to speak figuratively by using the imagery of an old truckthat is stuck but it needs to move; this could symbolize their marriage that is stuck but it needs to progress. She opens the poem by saying that “you keep me waiting in a truck with its one good wheel stuck in the ditch” (Ai 2). This could be an indication that their friendship was neglected and challenges have weighed down their relationship. On another line, she states that “you’ll have the strength, the will to move.I’ll pull, you push”; this shows that for it to work determination and sacrifice will have to be there (Ai 2). Likewise, as we have seen in the previous books that determination was a key factor in ensuring that friendship grew. Being strong is another important factor in friendship because it helps to cover each other’s weaknesses by allowing pulling and pushing through every challenge. The persona craves to forget all the past mistakes through a sexual experience when she says “Hurry. I’ve got nothing on under my skirt tonight…Come on baby, lay me down on my back.Pretend you don’t owe me a thing” (Ai 2). This shows that what the lady in the picture perceives to be her source of power is in sexual experience other than what we saw in the previous books being beauty and brains. Thus, this is an indication that women have very many sources of power and what they empower becomes their focus that defines them and that is what they present to the society to perceive them. 

Therefore, it can be concluded that for friendships to grow and last they require all the parties to play their role; determination is important in ensuring that relationships do not get stuck in addition to bearing each other’s weaknesses. From all the sources it is evident that women can determine what they want to be their source of power since inLumberjanesthey choose to use their brains and strength, in A&P they choose to use beauty while in Twenty-year Marriagethe source is set to be sexual satisfaction. 

Comparable Personal Experiences 

Most of the times after reading a literal piece and reflecting on it one can relate to the themes and characters in almost a similar experience they went through. This makes the reader feel like they were part of the events that happened in the literal piece; the impact brings many memories alive and this creates a connection (Hogan 2). Hence, it is important to read literal pieces with an open mind so that one can gain insight, learn lessons and relate to the picture painted by literature because most events in a piece point directly or indirectly to life issues (Nezami 659). After reading a short story called “A&P”, a graphic novel titled “Lumberjanes” and a poem “Twenty-year Marriage by Ai, I could fail to related to the theme of Love.

Just like Sammy in the short story “A&P”, I have in one way or another experience such a situation where I meet a lady who captured my attention in a bus stop. I was in a bus and I noticed a motorcyclist had splashed water to a beautiful lady who was standing on the sideways since it was a rainy season. I had noticed the lady from a far and I was amazed at how beautiful she looked; in a short while I fantasized of how it would be wonderful walking along the street with her. Hence, when the incident happened I was forced to alight from the bus even if that was not my destination so that I may defend her from the rude motorcyclist. I rushed to the scene and confronted him in defense to the lady so that I may win her over just like Sammy did to defend Queenie. As I engaged the motorcyclist telling him that he had done wrong and should apologize to her, the lady kept quiet; I thought to myself that I was her hero and that would impress her. After a lengthy exchange with the motorcyclist he sped off and I started looking for the lady in the crowd that had gathered only to see her waving at me smiling from a window of a bus that was going the opposite direction. I was heartbroken because I had cancelled my plans to impress her but I had missed her too. When I read “A&P” I related to my experience what happened to Sammy when he lost his job and missed Queenie after reacting to his manager who mistreated her (Updike 22). 

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Furthermore, another experience that occurred to me that resonated when I read the poem by Ai is when one of my former lovers wrote a letter to me explaining to me how she missed me and that we should reconsider getting together again to rekindle our relationship. The letter was so emotional and touched on hearty issues that painted a picture of how great lovers we could have become if we were still together. It touched on how we should have stuck through the challenges and fight through just like the five friends did in “Lumberjanes” because that is what makes relationship work. At the end I realized that it was impossible since I had moved on and did not have feelings for her anymore. Hence, I could relate with what the persona in the poem was sharing as well as picturing how the ladies in “Lumberjanes” stood together to the end; the literal pieces reconnected me to my life experiences.                                    

Did you like this sample?
  1. Ai. “Twenty-Year Marriage.” Poetry Foundation, Poetry Foundation, Accessed 3 Apr. 2017.
  2. Hogan, Colm. What Literature Teaches Us about Emotion. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011. Print.
  3. Nezami, S. R. The Use of Figures of Speech as a Literary Device—A Specific Mode of Expression in English Literature. Journal of Language in India, 12.2, 2012, pp. 659.
  4. Updike, John. A&P. Accessed 3 Apr. 2017.
  5. Stevenson, Noelle; Watters, Shannon and Allen, Brooke. Lumberjanes Vol. 1: Beware The Kitten Holy, Los Angeles, California: BOOM! Box, 2015. Print. 
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