Literary Analysis of Updike's "A & P "

Topics: First-person narrative, Narrative, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey Pages: 2 (567 words) Published: May 4, 2011


Updike's “A&P” is an interesting story of attitude and the male ego. Sammy, being young and obviously very observant, describes in first person point of view the events that lead up to him quitting his job. The theme of “A&P” is central to the idealistic and moral values of young verses old. As represented in the difference of attitude towards the girls regarding the wearing of swim suits in the local grocery store. While the girls are strolling through the various aisles, Sammy is enthralled with the appearance with one girl more than the other two. He apparently does not have an issue with the attire of the girls. Moreover, he is better inclined to allow his hormones to control the situation. This is evident by the way Sammy describes the three girls, each one with a unique style and flare. An example of this would be the way in paragraph 1 and 4 where he refers to the backside of one of the girls as a “can”. A contrast to that description would be the way he describes Queenie. Immediately noticing that the straps of her suit were down tells the reader that in Sammy's mind the girls were objects of fixation and mere physical gratification. The second paragraph shows this very well when Sammy compares the minds of girls to a buzz like a bee in a glass jar. In the opinion of this reader Sammy is no more than an over sexed teenager wandering through the toils of his daily life at work fantasizing about every pretty face he sees.

Sammy leads the reader to believe that Stoksie, his co-worker, is a married, dirty (although middle aged), old man, who would probably jump at the chance to cheat on his wife if he thought he could get away with it. This is clear in the 7th and 8th paragraphs. One can tell by the inflection used in the dialogue between Stoksie and Sammy.

The description of the store manager (Lengel), is that of a dried up prune of a man, who is obsessed with rules and...
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