Two Of The Same: The Short Stories "A&P" And "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"

1125 words - 5 pages

There are many similarities between the short stories "A&P" and "Where are you going, Where have you been?" most notably their characters. Both stories contain a female protagonist, and a male antagonist, whose confrontations start out relatively normal, and progress to more and more surreal and twisted endings. Their main characters, Sammy and Connie, are shockingly similar, and yet strangely different, one a 15 year old wishing to be older and beautiful, the other An eighteen year old boy from a small suburb outside Boston who works at an A & P Supermarket. These stories tell the tales of impressionable young women who are tempted by the delights of strange men, only to prove to themselves in the end how naive they really are.In "Where are you going, Where have you been?", Connie starts out as most teenage girls seemingly would - she wants to be more daring, to appear older, to experience more of the world. She sneaks away from childish pursuits, to the teenage or adult world, to drink and kiss boys rather than shop for school clothes, to see movies in a steamy car instead of in a theater. She talks of being beautiful as if it were her only good grace - beauty, to her, is the ultimate goal. She wants to be older, and more beautiful, and this is her downfall. Her foolishness and her naivety is what appeals to Arnold Friend in the first place. Arnold Friend, a stranger, appeals to her early on in the story. He is older, more powerful, and smarter. She is frightened, of course, but intrigued, and it is her yearning for the adult world, and the adult life, that, in the end, causes her downfall. She is suckered in by the convincing conman who uses his words to appeal to her weaknesses. She is tricked into being what Arnold wants her to be by his smooth words and his façade of confidence. She's toyed with, played for the naive fool she is, who is far too young for the world she wants to be a part of. Only at the very end of the story does she begin to realize what she has gotten herself into. She shows her true colors once she is confronted. These women are seemingly innocent, random bystanders picked by older smarter conmen. However, one could easily hold them responsible for their own fates. Not that the victim in a crime is to blame, but, honestly, if you leave your car door open, with the keys inside, and the motor running, while you go inside a store for a few hours, how can you possibly seem shocked when it gets stolen? Women whether they believe it or not, are waving hundreds of flags at these conmen - "Please target me!"... "Take my leg!"... By openly flaunting their insecurities and by allowing themselves to be charmed to the point of trusting the conmen, they are, if not wholly, then at least partially responsible for their own fates. They reached their own conclusions, and they got what they wanted.In "A&P" Sammy is working as a cashier at A&P when he spots her, the girl who he labels "Queenie". She is leading a...

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