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Topics: Cold War, John Updike, Short story Pages: 3 (885 words) Published: March 28, 2013
Conformity vs. Individualism:
Conformity and Individualism have been foes for longer than most can remember, dating back the Renaissance when the new spirit of individualism swept through the Italian peninsula. It seems as though history repeated itself in the United States about 530 years later. The conflict between conformity and individualism is obviously displayed through the elements of the setting in John Updike’s “A&P” exhibiting the upcoming era of social issues and, the small town and grocery store representing a microcosm of the whole population of the United States.

John Updike’s “A&P” short story was written approximately in 1961, the beginning of the sixties. As many know the sixties were a strange social time in the United States in which society completely radicalized and turned against the traditional and conservative moral standards. The battle for conformity began to be lost completely to individualism in the sixties which is what the short story conveys. Throughout the short story there are various examples of conformity being pitted against individualism simply because of the time period in which the story was born. The youth in the sixties no longer decided to follow a social norm rather than become individualized which is exactly what occurs in this story; displaying a greater view on American culture during that era. In the early 1960’s a counterculture erupted which was led by the standards of individualism, this counterculture had as one of its principles simplistic nature. This idea of simplistic nature is displayed throughout the story; for instance when the three girls walking into the store with basic simple clothes on, it led to an idea and sense of individualism triumphing over conformism but as well as rebellion over conformity. Another example of this concept of conformity against individualism is displayed through Sammy at the end of the short story quitting his job; his idea of quitting comes from being tired of...
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