A&P versus Winter Dreams

Sammy, from the story “A & P” by John Updike, and Dexter, from the story “Winter Dreams” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, are similar characters from two different stories. In both stories, the two men fell in love with what they pictured as the perfect woman. Each man had visions of the future they would like to have with the lady of their dreams. Sammy daydreamed of a fancy daytime gathering with his dream-girl’s family and friends (page number). Dexter dreamt of taking and marrying the girl that he falls in love with (page number).

Even though they are of different social statuses, Sammy and Dexter are the same character because they become infatuated with a certain individual, quit their jobs in order to get the individual, and end up alone. In “A & P”, Sammy noticed three girls walk into the grocery store in which he worked, and fixated on one of the girls in particular. He called her “Queenie” because she was the dominant friend of the three (Updike 294-5). The three girls had nothing but bathing suits on, and this upset Lengel, the store owner.

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Lengel made a big scene out of the attire the girls had on, and Sammy knew that this embarrassed the girls (Updike 297). After Queenie’s transaction was complete, Sammy told Lengel that he was quitting his job at A&P. Sammy hoped that the girls would notice he quit as a heroic gesture, but they seemed not to hear what had happened. Sammy walked out of A & P, but Queenie was gone (Updike 298). In the end, Sammy became defeated because he was jobless due to his irrational decision to quit. It is apparent that Sammy was not thinking clearly before making this major decision at his workplace.

The story implies that Sammy’s quitting behavior could repeat later on in life and garner him the reputation of being a person who quits. As Sammy’s manager Lengel said, “You’ll feel this for the rest of your life (Updike 298). ” In “Winter Dreams”, Judy Jones was introduced into the story at the young age of eleven. Dexter and she were not formally introduced. Dexter saw Judy Jones on the golf course and noticed her heavenly smile, eyes, thinness, and seemed to be “glowing”. From here on out, Dexter would be fascinated with Judy Jones.

Jones and her caretaker suggested to Dexter he be their caddy, but Dexter declined, saying that he had to wait for the caddy-master to arrive. Judy Jones threw a temper tantrum when she could not get her way, and Dexter found this to be amusing. After realizing that he did not want Judy Jones to see him as a humble caddy, he resigned his caddying occupation (Fitzgerald 185-6). In justification for Dexter to resign from caddying, the job was solely for spending money, therefore it was not obligatory.

At the age of twenty-three, Dexter became a successful laundry owner, and eventually operated the largest string of laundries in his region. Dexter eventually decided to sell the company and move on with his life to New York. It is probable that Dexter was independently wealthy enough to be able to resign the laundry business in order to move to New York. Dexter resigned in order to move up his self-image, because he hid his source of wealth from the people of Sherry Island (Fitzgerald 189).

Dexter’s dream and motivation in life was to be suitable for Judy Jones and live with her in New York. When Dexter learned that Jones had lost her beauty, he admitted that his hopes and dreams were gone (Fitzgerald 203). This reassures the reader that Dexter’s love for Judy Jones was an illusion, because once her looks and youthfulness were gone, so was the love that he had for her. Dexter and Sammy both fall in love and quit their jobs in hopes to impress the girls they love, however, both characters never stop to think about what intentions drive their actions.

They have a vision of what they would like their lives to be like, but are unable to get exactly what they wished for in the end. For Dexter, Judy Jones was the center of his dreams, while for Sammy, it was the girl he called Queenie. Once the illusion of having Judy and Queenie disappeared, the men tuned back into reality and succumbed to their lonely destinies. When Sammy and Dexter grasped that their lovers were incompatible for them, they became disappointed and disillusioned with life.

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