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"The Artist Behind 'a & P'"

771 words - 3 pages

"The Artist Behind 'A & P'""A & P" tells the story of a young man named Sammy, who becomes infatuated with three beautiful girls who happen to enter the store where he works. Sammy is so overcome by desire and the beauty of one specific girl, Queenie, that he ends up doing something he normally would not do, had he been in his right state of mind. Author John Updike bases "A & P" on his love and knowledge of art. Throughout the story, art is woven into the text as a form of criticism, but also makes the reader aware of the dramatic irony taking place as the story is told. In "The Art of John Updike's 'A & P,'" Toni Salvidar states that the reader is able to grasp a better understanding as to why "A & P" is written the way is when Updike combines his love for the arts with his background in studying artistic history.Salvidar states that "The Birth of Venus" can be related to the characters in "A & P" (Salvidar 223). Sammy is similar to Walter Pater's version of Botticelli in "The Birth of Venus" in many ways. Sammy is a nickname for "Sandro", just as Botticelli had a baptismal name of Filipepe. Both of these characters have an overwhelming desire to turn "the beauty of the world into his own vision of beauty" (223). This shows that both Sammy and Botticelli were able to see a version of beauty, while also being conscious of that which would have to be put aside to be true to visionary desire. Sammy also possesses resemblance to Botticelli when he makes a "great refusal". He stands up for what he believes to be right and in the process, quits his job based on his own private vision of morality (Updike 21). Sammy and Botticelli have similar interpretations of morality; they both believe in conveying the truer complexion of humanity. In addition, Sammy also possesses the power which all aesthetic critics and artists possess.Updike was able to incorporate "the power to be deeply moved by the presence of beautiful objects" into the character of Sammy (Salvidar 222). This means that Sammy is able to think like an artist and feel the influence which objects such as paintings, trees, or even human beings hold over...

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