Short Story Comparison-
“A&P” And “An Ounce Of Cure” Essay, Research Paper
If a reader is given two short stories, two stories that are seemingly different on the surface, to read and compare and contrast, a surprising amount of similarities and differences can be found. Unless they deal with the same subject matter, most short stories aren’t really related, until some analysis is done. The stories “A&P,” by John Updike, and “An Ounce of Cure,” by Alice Munro, are very similar but very different.
One of the mot important similarities between these two stories is the problems the opposite sex “causes” for the main character. In “A&P,” Sammy, the main character, quits his job because he thinks that his boss has mistreated and embarrassed three young ladies that were shopping in the store. In “An Ounce of Cure,” the female main character’s boyfriend dumps her and she responds by trying to overdose on aspirin, gets drunk, and loses almost all of her baby-sitting jobs.
Another similarity between these two stories is the fact that they are set between thirty and forty years ago. This is very important to both stories. In “A&P,” the young ladies wouldn’t have been walking around in a store in their bathing suits, and they definitely wouldn’t have been wearing a two piece bathing suit if this had been set any earlier. Also, Sammy probably wouldn’t have quit his job just because his boss embarrassed a few young ladies. In “An Ounce of Care,” the main character would have never thought about drinking at such a young age. Also, she wouldn’t even have been in the situation if the story had been set earlier because she would have been forbidden to
date. These things have become more acceptable in recent times. The titles are also important to the stories. In “A&P,” Sammy is a clerk at the local A&P and almost all of the action takes place inside the store. In “An Ounce of Cure,” the main character and her mother have to use and ounce of cure to try and make up for the main character’s mistakes. If only an ounce of prevention had been used, there wouldn’t have been any of those horrible problems that arose.
These two stories are also very different. The main difference is that Sammy takes less dramatic measures to resolve his problems than the girl in “An Ounce of Cure.” Sammy only quits his job. Since he is young and it is summer time, he shouldn’t have any problems finding another job. The girl in “An Ounce of Cure,” however, takes far more drastic measures to solver her problems. She tries to kill herself, gets drunk, and endangers the lives of the two young children that she supposed to be watching.
Another difference is that “An Ounce of Cure” has far less detail in it than in “A&P.” “An Ounce of Cure” is much longer, but much more straightforward. It gives the story and a few extra details, but not many. On the other hand, “A&P” Sammy gives vivid details of everything around him. He paints a very clear picture of the store, the young ladies, the other shoppers, and his every thought.
Both main characters in these stories have very different attitudes towards everything. Sammy, in “A&P,’ is very self assured. He realizes that he may be making a mistake halfway through quitting his job, but goes through with it anyway. By reading into his thoughts, the reader can infer that he is around the ages of fifteen to nineteen
years old, meaning that girls are very important to him and he wants to impress them. He also seemed to be somewhat of a happy-go-lucky kind of guy. Just because his quitting his job may have been detrimental to his family, he felt good with himself afterwards. The girl in “An Ounce of Cure” seems to get depressed very easily. She is young and should be able to get over getting dumped fairly easily. She also has a negative view of other people. Even though she might not have known some of the other people in the story very well, that didn’t stop her from being a typical teenage girl and forming opinions of people she doesn’t know well, if at all.
Stories don’t have to have obvious similarities and differences to be similar and different. If a reader simply reads into the story a little bit and infers a small amount of information, similarities and differences can be found. A good example of this are the two short stories “A&P,” by John Updike, and “An Ounce of Cure,” by Alice Munro. They seem to be totally unrelated on the surface, but can be compared and contrasted very easily.