Work By John Updike Analysis

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Perception How do we describe people? Is the description of a person based on their physical appearance? The actions of people create this perception of who they are and what their outlook on life is. The thoughts and words as well as physical appearance all share a part in perceptions of people. “Work” by Denis Johnson, and “A&P” by John Updike are two stories that offer different perspectives on work, life, and women, but share an underlying connection in terms of life. An unnamed frequent drug user, who in the beginning of the story has a girlfriend that also, partakes in drug use with him, narrates Denis Johnson’s story Work. The narrator is abusive towards his girlfriend and that is quite evident when they get into an argument that ultimately leads to him punching his girlfriend in the stomach. The narrator’s chosen line of work is burglarizing an empty house with his friend Wayne. The two men are ripping copper wire from the walls of the house to sell for money. The …show more content…

To some, work may be simply the completion of a task. In my case, I believe work is completing a service for money whether legal or illegal. Work, by Denis Johnson, and A&P, by John Updike, are two stories that follow the theme of work but offer different perspectives of work. The “Work” character has an altered perception of work, because his “work” isn’t necessarily productive. The A&P character knows what work is and has a stable job, but gives it up willingly for foolish reasons. Sammy seems to be headed down a similar path to the Work narrator’s, especially when considering the end of the passage. The end of A&P foreshadows what life is going to be like for the main character after he quits, which the Work story gives us some context for how that main character perceives work. The Work passage shows how the man has fallen, so that ripping copper wire out of walls is something he considers as real

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