* “…the littlest children, whose diapers were in various stages of anarchy.”
It was hard to identify the figure of speech that is used in this line. But within my knowledge, personification seems to come closest in its definition to the usage in this line. Personification is a figure of speech where human qualities and traits are applied to nonhuman beings and things. Diapers can’t literally be related to anarchy, as anarchy is used to describe happenings in the human world amongst human interactions. Anarchy when applied in its true form, represents “absence of government,” “lawlessness,” and “political disorder”(anarchy). This line however, claims that the “diapers were in various stages of anarchy.” It can’t be taken in a literal sense, but it’s obvious that the author was implying the chaos that usually accompanies anarchy in society to the mess/chaos in the little children’s diapers. The children were of various ages, and therefore their diapers were at “various stages of anarchy.”
* “He nodded and the red car wobbled back and forth on the road as if the driver were having an epileptic seizure.”
This line attempts to use imagery to make its point. The red car is referring to the birthmark on the forehead of the grocer. And when he nodded, the author refers to the movement of the birthmark on the grocer’s head as a “red car” wobbling back and forth on the road, or the forehead in the literal sense.
* “…the water spigot thrust itself out of the ground like the finger of a saint.”
The figure of speech used in this line is a simile. Similes compare two things, usually using words such as “like” and “as.” In this line, the water spigot is likened to a finger of a saint. To the ruptured friend, making kool-aid was a sacred and holy ceremony. So it makes much sense that the source of water, the spigot, was likened to holy figure like a saint.
* “…like a brain surgeon removing a disordered portion of the imagination.”
The figure of speech used in this line is also a simile. The author likens the kool-aid wino’s “sudden but delicate motion” to “a brain surgeon removing a disordered portion of the imagination. This description allows the readers to get an understanding of just how much care and precision the kool-aid wino put into making his kool-aid.
* “Like the inspired priest of an exotic cult….”
The figure of speech used in this line is also a simile. The author likens the kool-aid wino to a cult leader, having performed the first part of the “ceremony” successfully. The use of simile in this line further indicates to the readers the level of obsession and passion from the kool-aid wino, when it comes to making kool-aid. The process of making kool-aid truly seems like a ceremony to the kool-aid wino.
* Bertrand Russell (Look him up! Why is he appropriate here?)
The figure of speech used in this line is an allusion. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Bertrand Russell was one of the most famous British philosopher, logician, essayist and social critic of the 20th century. Russell was very well educated and well-spoken. Today, he is largely considered as the founder of modern analytic philosophy. However, over his lifetime, Russell made significant contributions to a broader range of topics including education, history, political theory, and religious studies. At the age of 78, Russell was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature(Russell).
The allusion to Bertrand Russell in this line demonstrates the confidence and poise of the kool-aid wino, when he declared “the dishes can wait.” Even a Nobel Prize winner like Russell couldn’t have said it better than the kool-aid wino.
* “They were like fruit under a tree.”
The figure of speech used in this line is a simile. The author likens the half-rotten comic books to “fruit under a tree.” Usually, fruits that are under trees are in rotting stages, since they have fallen from the trees and have been left there for a considerable amount of time. The fruits are also just scattered around the base of the tree, in a disorganized and messy fashion. The use of simile in this line indicates to the readers the conditions of the comic books, as well as how they were scattered all over the chicken house.
How do the above figures of speech add to your enjoyment of the story?
The different figures of speech used in this piece made it very enjoyable to read. Lines that would have gone unnoticed are accentuated by the use of different figures of speech. It also helps to emphasize certain points, that really make the story stand out. For example, the use of different similes in the story helped me realize just how seriously the kool-aid wino treated the process of making kool-aid. If the author just stated his friend really liked making kool-aid, it would’ve been a very boring and stale story. But through the use of different figures of speeches, it made the story exciting and memorable.
“Anarchy”. Merriam-Webster Online. April 29, 2010 <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anarchy>.
“Bertrand Russell”. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. April 29, 2010 <http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/russell/>.
RE: The Kool-Aid Wino
You are totally right about personification in the diaper quote. I don’t know I forgot about this! Do you think though that the quote referring to the grocer’s birthmark isn’t a metaphor??
For most parts, I agree with the points and conclusions made throughout the discussion. However, I cannot say the same for the interpretation made regarding the children’s diapers and anarchy. While I do believe that the personification has been used, it is clear that the line “various stages of anarchy” does not necessarily translate into the differences in children’s ages. As the diaper is the focus of the line, it would be most logical to assume that it pertains to the state of the diaper. Specifically, “various stages of anarchy” may have pertained to differences in the amount of mess within the diapers.
A & P
4/29/2010 4:42:39 PM
John Updike’s story “A & P” takes place in a local grocery store called A & P. It is in a town located 5 miles from the beach and this is known because Updike states it. He describes the setting in great detail even down to the green and cream colored checkered tile of the grocery store floor. Updike use’s the metaphor,”sheep’s pushing their carts down the isle” (Updike, 17), to explain the customers blindly following the direction of the unwritten traffic rules in the grocery store. Sheep live in herds and tend to mindlessly follow one another just like how the customers follow a pattern of direction with nothing implementing it. It could also mean that sheep get spooked easily and when unfamiliar things enter the territory confusion arises in the herd. This happened when the bikini clad girls walked by the usual, fully clothed customers. They all looked curiously, like something like this has never been seen before.
The majority of this book uses the exposition technique. Updike uses it to describe the setting and the girls, a little about Sammy, as well as other co-workers. This part ends when he announces that the saddest part of the book, the altercation between the girls and Lengel, the store manager, is about to take place. This is when Lengel tells the girls that they are dressed inappropriately and for future reference they “need to cover their shoulders.” The important thing you learn in this part is that Updike’s character, Sammy, is smitten by this girl’s beauty and the other one’s behind. The complication in the story is the disagreement between Lengel and the girls. This is where Sammy seems to get upset that Lengel is embarrassing the girls for no good reason. The moment when the crisis happens is when Sammy first announces that he is going to quit A & P. Tension is building here because Lengel takes note of his comment and then tries to discuss what he is about to do before he makes his final decision. The climax is actually at the end when Sammy stands behind his words and actually quits. He takes off his apron and bow tie, grabs his belongings and exists the store into the parking lot.
Sammy declares that the world is going to be hard for him here on after because he just got his first dose of unfairness. He is growing up and coming to realize not everything is going to be equal and people are going to be treated either more poorly or unfair compared others. Also people love to have authority and to make sure others follow policies and guidelines in order to keep that authority. This is also something that bothers him. Sammy knows that he isn’t going to be able to quit every job he has because of these things and I think that might be a hard pill for him to swallow.
I am quite intrigued with the interpretation of the last line above, in which focuses upon the concept of unfair practices or injustice. In my perspective or through my analysis of the story, I was only able to perceive the last line as the result of foolish bravado. Given Sammy’s age though, it is quite possible that his actions and thoughts about the coming hardships may be much simpler in reality. Regardless, it would not be easy to refute the appropriateness or correctness of the claim given above regarding unfairness in the context of the story.
4/29/2010 5:26:59 PM
Brautigan uses a lot of similes in this story. The first one is comparing the spigot of which the water poured out of to a finger of saint. He says this because the whole process of the Kool-Aid making is some what of a holy ritual to the one boy, whose name was never mentioned, and that without the water spigot then the divine drink would never be created. The next is relating the boy turning the handle of the pouring water off to brain surgeon delicately performing surgery. He does it in a manner with such precision and care like that of a brain surgeon. the simile ” like the inspired priest of an exotic cult..” is referring to the manner in which the boy completed the first couple of steps in the Kool-Aid making. The last example of simile used in the story is when they enter the chicken coop after the first part of the process is completed. He sees ” half-rotten comic books” scattered throughout the coop and compares them to fruit underneath a tree. Like the randomness of the fallen fruit under the tree, so were the comic books around the area.
The quote; “he nodded and the red car wobbled back and forth on the road as if the driver were having an epileptic seizure” is a form of metaphor. It is used to describe the birthmark that is on the grocers head. He said it looked like a red car, and when he nodded the car moved back and forth on his head making in seem like the driver of that car is swerving. Another metaphor, and maybe even imagery, is used to describe the diapers of the small children. “Various stages of anarchy” is referring to the kids soiling their diapers, and this also gives the image of something quite disgusting.
Allusion is used in the mentioning of Bertrand Russell. I researched him and it was said that he was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, socialist, pacifist, agnostic, and social critic. Russell also apparently led the British “revolt against idealism” and he is considered one of the founders of analytical philosophy as well as one of the 20th century’s premier logicians. I don’t quite know why he is important or relevant to the story, but hopefully someone will reply to mine and help me out. I would really like to know why he is and how he fits into the passage.
The line pertaining to the red car or the grocer’s birthmark is not only a metaphor but is may also be considered as a simile as well. To further explain, the part wherein it would possibly be regarded as a metaphor would be its first half, wherein the car wobbles due to nodding. Of course, knowledge of the car’s representation would be necessary in realizing such. The second portion of the line, which pertains to the similarity of the action with that of an epileptic driver, is definitely a simile as proven through the presence of “as if”.
4/29/2010 8:27:24 PM
This story takes place north of Boston, about five miles from the beach, we know this because it is clearly stated in the middle of the story: “our town is five miles from the beach” and “we’re north of Boston and there’s people in this town that haven’t seen the ocean for twenty years.” However, even if it were not so clearly stated, one could infer it by the way that Sammy was obsessing with the girls in their bikinis. If the story took place at a store close to the beach, it would be common for girls to stroll in without more than a bikini on.
I think the sheep represent people not noticing what is going on around them until something unusual happens, like the girls prancing around in their bikinis down the aisle. These sheep people are probably middle to lower class, this can be drawn from “these are usually women with six children and varicose veins mapping their legs and nobody, including them, could care less.” Sheep could also be associated with the monotony of the job environment; “same thing, new day” type of environment. Sheep are not known for their exciting lifestyles or environments, they graze on the grass all day and sleep for a while, just like Sammy, watches the sheep graze through the aisles all day and goes home.
The exposition is spread out through most of the story, giving us background information in small quantities at a time. I think the end of the exposition is when his manager tells Sammy “you don’t want to do this to your Mom and Dad.” This is important because it seems that Sammy’s parents would be greatly disappointed in him, and still Sammy stands up for what he thinks is the right thing to do.
The complication starts when the girls walk in wearing only their bikinis and distract all the customers. It continues on when the manager notices these girls and tells them “Girls, this isn’t the beach.”
The crisis is when the manager continues on with the confrontation and keeps telling the girls that they are inappropriately dressed to be shopping in the store. Sammy is noticing the pretty girl is getting uncomfortable, while he, himself, is beginning to feel queasy about the situation.
The climax of the story is when Sammy quits his job, despite disappointing his parents and knowing that he will regret this decision later, he stands up for the what he thinks is right only to be disappointed.
“…my stomach kind of fell as I felt how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter.” This line depicts Sammy’s disappointment that the girls were gone, and did not have any appreciation for what he had done. The world is a hard place to be in when you try to stand up for others and nobody cares.
Considering the sheep as a representation of monotony in life is definitely an interesting insight regarding the use of the term. As a matter of fact, it made me reconsider the appropriateness of my analysis. Specifically, I considered the most of the girls to be among the ones branded as sheep, due to the presence of a leader figure in the group; now it has occurred to me that such an analysis may be wrong and the term may indeed pertain to the common patrons of A & P. Without doubt the analysis above is more appropriate than my own.