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Independence in Updike’s A&P and Welty’s Why I Live at the P.O. Essay

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Why do many strive to become independent or just do something bigger in life? With Updike’s “A&P” and Welty’s “Why I Live at the P.O.”, we get a first person look into two similar but different people’s lives and struggles. In “Why I Live at the P.O.” sister is the main character and the narrator. The same is for “A&P” but Sammy is the main character and narrator. Sammy and Sister throughout the stories battle with their want of being independent. Sister is jealous of her younger sister Stella-Rondo’s life from the beginning saying “She always had anything in the world she wanted and then she’d throw it away” (Welty 261). Like sister Sammy was always in search for a way to become independent or his own person in life. Sammy though presents his drive to be independent not so openly with the reader. Both characters throughout each story use their own techniques to put themselves closer to the ultimate goal of being independent and on their own. Through the stories we see that in the pursuit of independence Sister has a more thought-out approach to her plan, while Sammy has a more passive instinctive approach to becoming independent.
The need for independence from Sister is greater for she doesn’t really have a stable family life. As the oldest that still lives at home when her sister Stella-Rondo comes home there is an increase to her want to become independent and get away. The sisters do not care for each other as Sister says “She was first to go with Mr. Whitaker until Stella-Rondo broke them up” (Welty 261). This is a major point that lets us understand that sister does have a huge problem with Stella-Rondo, and helps us to understand that there is a grudge and a need to be better than one another. The only way Sister see...


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...ught process. In “Why I live at the P.O.” the way we see her family talking about her and how her family doesn’t get along we feel the want for Sister to become independent and get away from the disrespect of her family. “Why I Live at the P.O.” and “A&P” both character narrators are searching for their independence from the rest of the people around them and the world, but Sister finds a planned out way and succeeds were Sammy doesn’t plan and acts on impulse losing everything.



Works Cited

Welty, Eudora. “Why I Live at the P.O..” Literature and the writing Process. Ed. Elizabeth McMahan,
Susan X Day, And Robert Funk. 7th ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice, 2005. 261-269. Print.
Updike, John. “A&P.” Literature and the writing Process. Ed. Elizabeth McMahan,
Susan X Day, And Robert Funk. 7th ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice, 2005. 261-269. Print.



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