"A & P" and "How I Met My Husband" Similarities

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“A & P” by John Updike and “How I Met My Husband” by Alice Monroe are both “coming of age” stories; they are short stories where young adults experience an epiphany and change their lives. While at first glance these two stories may seem different, they show how small occurrences can transform a person’s life. These two tales of young, innocent attraction have similar backstories. They are set in the same time period, approximately in the early- to mid-90s. The characters of Edie and Sammy are close to the same age, being 15 and 19, respectively, and they are both working when their epiphany occurs. Both teens were comfortable and accepting of their lives and jobs before their worlds were shaken up with the arrival of love interests: Chris Watters in “How I Met My Husband” and Queenie in “A & P”. Even though the plots of these stories are not explicitly the same, the main action and events go hand in hand. As soon as the new, attractive character enters the scene, they set in motion the events that led up to Sammy’s and Edie’s epiphany. They change their way of thinking, and in doing so, change their lives. Another similarity is that there is something or someone that blocks the main character’s desires. For example, for Edie, it is Alice Kelling and, eventually, distance from Chris. For Sammy, it is different social classes between him and Queenie, and Lengel tying to kick the girls out. In both stories, there are similar events that lead to Edie and Sammy’s big choice. They are just living their lives waiting for something to happen. Edie is waiting for Chris to appear, and Sammy is waiting on Queenie and her group of scantily clad friends to come stir things up. Another parallel is that someone is reprimanded. Edie is thought to have been “intimate” with Chris when he was engaged, and is yelled at for being nothing better than a “filthy little
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