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Independence In Updike’s A&P And Welty’s Why I Live At The P.O.

1282 words - 5 pages

Why do many strive to become independent or just do something bigger in life? With Updike’s “A&P” and Welty’s “Why I Live at the P.O.”, we get a first person look into two similar but different people’s lives and struggles. In “Why I Live at the P.O.” sister is the main character and the narrator. The same is for “A&P” but Sammy is the main character and narrator. Sammy and Sister throughout the stories battle with their want of being independent. Sister is jealous of her younger sister Stella-Rondo’s life from the beginning saying “She always had anything in the world she wanted and then she’d throw it away” (Welty 261). Like sister Sammy was always in search for a way to become independent or his own person in life. Sammy though presents his drive to be independent not so openly with the reader. Both characters throughout each story use their own techniques to put themselves closer to the ultimate goal of being independent and on their own. Through the stories we see that in the pursuit of independence Sister has a more thought-out approach to her plan, while Sammy has a more passive instinctive approach to becoming independent.
The need for independence from Sister is greater for she doesn’t really have a stable family life. As the oldest that still lives at home when her sister Stella-Rondo comes home there is an increase to her want to become independent and get away. The sisters do not care for each other as Sister says “She was first to go with Mr. Whitaker until Stella-Rondo broke them up” (Welty 261). This is a major point that lets us understand that sister does have a huge problem with Stella-Rondo, and helps us to understand that there is a grudge and a need to be better than one another. The only way Sister sees being better that Stella-Rondo is becoming independent like her younger sister. With all sibling rivals there will always be a conflict though. Stella-Rondo told there Uncle Rondo “Sister says, ‘Uncle Rondo certainly does looks like a fool in that pink kimono!’” (Welty 262). Independence is a huge majority of her thought after this comment from her sister. Sister being a vocal person she tried to defend herself but to no success. Sister thinking to herself thinks” Well there is plenty of room in the P.O.” (Welty 262) and after that begins to formulate a plan in her head of how to reach her goal. This shows that she has a very aggressive thoughtful approach to her plan of becoming her own person. Sister shows us her side of being mischievous in her planning when she says “ I made no bones about letting the family catch on to what I was up to” (Welty 267). This is one of the biggest thoughts she had to show just how thoughtful she was of her plan and to keep it a secret. After this she uses the difference materials she takes as symbols of how thoughtful she is with her plan. Sister “takes only thinks she had helped to produce like the flowers she watered, and the sawing-Machine motor she had helped pay for. Sister is...

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