John Updike s stories A&P and The Rumor both show Updike s style of writing. Each work in the beginning captivates the reader and stimulates the natural sense of curiosity, as it draws you into the story. Both widen and deepen the knowledge of human activity as well. At the end of each story you are given a sensation of completeness. This being Updike s style of writing, I didn t always find it true in both stories.
As seen in the story A&P the first sentence reads In walks these three girls in nothing but bathing suits. After reading that sentence I was captivated and found myself reading on. It wasn t only the mere mention of girls in bathing suits, but the fact that it opened up so many possibilities for the story. In The Rumor you are told early on that a nasty rumor involving a young husband and a possible gay lover. This made for a good opening and made me want to read on.
All throughout the story A&P your given a voyeuristic view through the eyes of an eighteen year-old check out cashier, as he follows a group of under dressed women throughout the store. With this you gain a certain amount of knowledge about human behavior in some form. Not only the girls, but how the young cashier reacts, tells about human behavior as Updike interprets it.
In The Rumor I enjoyed being given a synopsis of the husband s background and details of his marriage from his wife as to decide whether or not he is, or has been engaged in a homosexual relationship. You are also given so many details concerning his past and many actions he has taken, to try and conclude if he truly is gay, and if he is in a gay relationship. Through this I began to truly understand human activity through the mind of the author.
The conclusion of A&P as it tells of the boy quitting his job in the hopes of impressing the girls, but then find himself in a moral whole in which he has to finish what he started. I felt let down at the end as the boy is now left without a job and has to face the world jobless. I didn t feel a completed statement was expressed, as the girls were long gone not even being effected by the cashier s valiant stand.
As The Rumor concludes I was given a sense that the rumor itself was not true, but to the husband Frank it had sparked a realization to himself to possibly change his future thinking and actions. The end while although a bit of a teaser did complete a statement in saying that you can t believe all the rumors you hear.