||[11 Dec 2006|09:11am]
A&P is a first person narrative story told in a slightly sarcastic and quite apathetic point of view. The thoughts of a young man are displayed quite truthfully, and do an excellent job of showing the thoughts of many young men around the same age. Though it is somewhere near the beach, the fact, the story takes place in a corporate supermarket make it quite possible to be anywhere in the united states.
It’s clear to see Sammy is a dreamer. Right off the bat he scans an item more than once, his attention is diverted to three girls who walk in wearing only bathing suits. He continues to divert his focus to these three girls for the remainder of the story, quickly analyzing the pros and cons of each girl. Despite some of his commentary it cannot be assumed he is a misogynist, his thoughts are always kept to him. If he were to go around speaking quite openly to the faces of these and other women, it may be another story, but it’s quite safe to say that if every young male said what they were thinking out loud, they’d all be considered misogynists.
He is very opinionated and thinks very little of the other shoppers because of their repetitions movement throughout the hallway. He thinks his coworker is too ambitious with his job and sets his hopes too high. This shows Sammy’s lack of a work ethic. He holds expectations of everyone from Stokesie to the voices of the girls, nothing ever lives up to these expectations and it seems he holds very little faith in himself for his lack of effort to make any type of conversation with the girls and choosing to make his almost chivalric movement to quit his job in honor of the girls. It seems with Sammy everything is too little too late.
The ending leaves the reader to assume he isn’t going to change. If he thinks the world was going to be hard after these actions, it shows he doesn’t feel it’s important for himself to change, but it’s the
world that should change. Perhaps its hinting at a small inner growth that he’s realized the world wont bend to his thought and only when his thoughts are acted upon does, he gets any response. If he holds his idea of “must follow through with decisions” things will continue to be tough for him and he will never be able to conquer his ego. He has yet to realize his own fallibility.
Boys and Girls by Alice Munro discuss the topic of a woman’s place in society and despite the willingness to change that roll, it's rather difficult and the narrator finds herself already changed. The narrator, a young girl at the beginning of the story, tells the story of her father as a fox farmer and how her mother frowned upon the industry but she herself found comfort in the process of skinning, killing, and disposal. While she was able to help with some chores, there are already some early signs of the growing separation between the men and the women of the family. It's clearly distinguished that the fox pen’s door's are for "men" to enter showing this is already viewed by the young girl as a man's job. While watering it’s also shown that she is too weak to carry the watering can full, clearly representing women as the weaker of both sexes.
Her father cannot discuss things that are on his mind unless it is an order to give her dealing with work. This shows the fathers lack of comfort when around his daughter. However, she states her mother has no problem showing her emotions, thoughts, or memories. Here is another stereotype shown that men cannot show emotion or feeling and its especially a taboo to do it around someone of the opposite sex. The opposite can be said for women, we are shown they have no problem expressing themselves freely. Despite the young girls lack of awareness, she is already bending to the outside worlds views of how women should grow to be. This can be even better seen in how she views her mother’s roll in the house, it’s dreadfully, dreary, boring and unimportant, while she’s coming to view her father’s roll as important.
Her mother makes it very clear that her daughter isn’t real help. She is upset that her daughter is always out of the house giving help to the father. As she becomes older, she becomes more aware of “girl” not holding the same meaning as it had when she was younger and now it has even come to hold an inferior connotation. Girls are different from boys and therefore they each have their own place in society and what they can and cannot do, which her grandmother begins to point out. This is when the biggest change in the narrators attitude. She is growing older and has begun to change.
This is best seen when she is helping as she normally does around the farm when a horse breaks out and instead of closing the gate she opens it to allow its escape. This can viewed as her escape from the masculine world and making the shift into a purely feminine world. Her stories no longer remain her as the hero, but as the one who must be rescued by some man she dreams about. She has always remained seemingly stoic throughout the story, but at the end when her brother lets the family know she could have stopped the horse she break out in tears, this completes the transformation and she isn’t met with anger and is simply pardoned because after all she’s just a girl and despite her want’s to be apart of the masculine roll in the family she has grown to accept and long for the roll rejected by her throughout the story.
At long last I arrived at Lascaux. The inhabitants were long gone but from what I could deduce they had left something behind and stumbling across a cave I found my deduction was quite right. The cave was covered with numerous depictions of creatures that must have roamed around the area but now were long gone, as was much of what once inhabited the area. It’s hard to say what they were trying to get across. Language is a barrier and even more so when supposedly nothing written existed at such times. Perhaps there was plenty of food that season and relishing in their boredom they created these pictures to look at and enjoy, or perhaps nothing of the sort. Either way the cave began to grow dreadfully boring and my pontificating was arriving me no where, and with my guide I decided to go elsewhere to see if I could not better understand what became of such people and this thing they called art.
Years and years passed in a blink of an eye and tribes roamed, animals died, men and women alike died, rocks eroded, people flocked together, tools developed, and wait, wait.. Stop, we’ve arrived. How things have changed. People are no longer living in caves and new forms of shelter have emerged. Perhaps this will give me more of an answer. Then someone came up with the bright idea of marks and wedges carved into a stone to represent thoughts and ideas. This is most likely when mankind became almost indefinitely doomed. Man continued along his path creating monuments which would be known as statues which represented god’s or rulers who thought they were god’s and people died because of these god’s (they didn’t realize they’d die either way). Their pottery was trite and stylized and could be seen in museums and art galleries across nations that would rise and fall (America, France, Britain, etc...).
Then the worlds first great civilizations came to be and their art flourished, perhaps this can be considered as the worlds first attempt at art for art’s sake and not so much functional, but we will always have those who want to apply meaning to anything and everything, so let’s find something worth educating the kids about. Oh those damned Greeks had quite a sense of humor, which is most readily seen in a terra cotta drinking container, which picture the stages of intoxication, ultimately ending in regurgitation of everything consumed in the past few hours. Yes alcohol no doubt helped inspire many artists, but would also come to inspire many great tragedies. While Greece was “flourishing” so were the Egyptians, building tombs still standing in hopes of a pleasant afterlife, being filled with absurd amounts of gold, jewelry, and furniture. These huge monuments brought the senseless deaths of many who were considered to be expendable, they did not get such tombs, but simply tossed in the sand. These pyramids remained a popular attraction up in till the end of man.
Things went on around the rest of the world of course, but according to many of the records found, they were of no importance. The main reason for this mentality was developing around this time, at the birth of a man named Jesus Christ, whom much art would be made for, continuing for close to 1500 years. This man was believed to be the son of God. Many deaths would come for the glory of his name and they were also under the notion that God on earth was an original conception, however they didn’t have history classes at this time and like it, they were doomed to repeat it. However it is necessary to sate that at this time art was flourishing in Rome and sculptures began to take on more lifelike appearances and carved from beautiful stone known as marble, which would be a material used well into the future to show strength and wealth.
Rome falls and the world appears to be lost, (we are assuming Europe is the world). Religion becomes the focal point of many peoples lives and is the ultimate anisthetic to the real world. Rather than focusing on the problems at hand people hope their God will fix everything for them while they wallow in their self pity. If a civilization believe in the “wrong” god their ideas and art were destroyed and new pictures were painted representing their old gods in new light, this light they called salvation and could only be found through Jesus. It can be assumed that most European art at this time revolved around Jesus and if it didn’t it would be conquered and then it would. This is also around the same time people began spending massive amounts of money on large elaborate objects which would be known as cathedrals. These were places of worship for God and his son Jesus. These took many years to build and had intricate carvings, sculptures, paintings, mosaics, statues, and just about any other type of art. Of course nothing could be secular and if it was, it was destroyed.