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Wilbur’s “The Writer” and Updike’s “A&P”: Comparison Essay

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Updated: Sep 7th, 2022

The problems of individuality, choice, and struggle have always been topical for people. Because of the desire to find their own ways and move, individuals were ready to resist dominant stereotypes and find a new and unique meaning for their existence. The topicality of the theme preconditioned the emergence of multiple stories and poems devoted to it. Authors selected different approaches to show the struggle and the complexity of choice; however, they were united in the idea that the decision to act independently and oppose other views is always hard. The following poem and a short story can prove this assumption. Although they rest on different events, there are some similar ideas that should be discussed.

The poem “The Writer” by Richer Wilbur revolves around the formidable challenge of achieving success in writing. The father watches his daughter trying to create a story. However, the task is complicated by multiple obstacles that are presented metaphorically. The daughter struggles before she can complete the work when the father fights against his own illusions and visions of how she should act (Wilbur). In the end, the poem emphasizes the fact that there is a clear understanding that a gild should find her own way to become free from her problems and find a unique style (Wilbur). In such a way, there is a description of the battle for the right to become free and move in a new and unique direction.

The short story “A&P” by John Updike provides readers with a completely different message. A young boy is astonished by the beauty and sexuality of girls dressed in swimming suits (Updike 121). They enter the store where he works and triggers the development of a dilemma. They are inappropriately dressed; however, he risks and allows them to stay there. Sammy pays for it as he is criticized by the manager and decides to quit to follow his dream, which is embodied in these three beautiful girls (Updike 122). The story touches upon numerous questions, such as sexual, problems of youth, and choice. However, there is a theme of freedom and the ability to select your own way and follow it.

At first glance, the poem and the story are completely different. There are a girl and a father who look for ways to find unique creativity and a boy who is inspired by his visions of sexuality. However, there is a common motif that links these stories to each other. They both revolve around the idea of freedom – the freedom to choose your own way and move in a unique direction. In a society characterized by the dominance of stereotypes and strict limits, this quality acquires increased importance as it helps individuals to remain themselves and differ from other people.

Altogether, the poem “The Writer” and the short story “A&P” are focused on the freedom to live your own life. Sammy refuses to act in a way appreciated by the majority and wants to follow his dream, which can be viewed as the manifestation of freedom. The girl and the father in the poem are also ready to struggle for their space to create. In such a way, the authors touch upon the critical problem of the resistance to pressure and the ability to select a way that will guarantee freedom. It can be difficult, and the majority of people can refuse to do it; however, it is a critical part of our lives.

Works Cited

Updike, John. Early Stories. Penguin, 2005.

Wilbur, Richard. “.” Poets.org.

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IvyPanda. "Wilbur's "The Writer" and Updike's "A&P": Comparison." September 7, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/wilburs-the-writer-and-updikes-ap-comparison/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Wilbur's "The Writer" and Updike's "A&P": Comparison." September 7, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/wilburs-the-writer-and-updikes-ap-comparison/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Wilbur's "The Writer" and Updike's "A&P": Comparison'. 7 September.

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