Journal Entry #3: Considering the time period in which “A&P” was written, what evidence of rebellion against the “establishment” do you find? Were there any symbols? Was the ending sad or not? What was this story really "about".? State a thesis and discuss this story. Journal #3- A&P
“A&P” written by John Updike in the 1960’s was focused on rebellion, which was what teenagers in that time were mainly focused on. The symbols of “A&P” are the title itself, the swimsuits, and Kingfish Fancy Herring Snacks in Pure Sour Cream can.
The first symbol of the story was the title itself. In that “A&P” stands for the store itself. However, John Updike added some irony into the story by having this as the stores name because A&P stands for anatomy and physiology, which is how Sammy, the main character in the story judges the girls bodies.
The second symbol is the swimsuits. The swimsuits represent the girls’ rebellion. In the 1960’s you would not see girls only wearing swim suits in a grocery store. It would be considered extremely inappropriate, especially in this time period.
Another symbol is the sour cream can. When “Queenie” is explaining that she was getting the sour cream for her mother, Sammy’s imagination trails off into thinking of what kind of party would be thrown with such a snack. He thinks of rich people, and then begins to compare it with his own life. The sour cream makes Sammy envy the girls freedom, therefore the can represents freedom to him.
The story does not really end up being sad. Sammy made a wrong decision with quitting his job. So it was his fault. The story was really about rebellion which was represented in both Sammy and the group of girls.