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“A & P” Questions

1. Updike arranges details artfully in order to set the story in a perfectly ordinary supermarket. His description of the appearance of the supermarket itself offers a vivid image. Updike talks about a girl in a bathing suit “in the cool of the A & P, under the fluorescent lights, against all those stacked packages, with her feet padding along naked over our checkerboard green-and-cream rubber-tile floor” (14). This offers the perfect description of a modern supermarket. The way in which Updike describes the three girls walking down the aisles adds to the supermarket image. Updike explains, “The fat one with the tan sort of fumbled with the cookies, but on second thought she put the packages back. The sheep pushing their carts down the aisle” (14). The author adds to the illustration with a description of this consumer, whose approach and actions reflect those of any supermarket customer. 2. Updike mainly characterizes Sammy through his thoughts about the three girls in the supermarket. It seems as though Sammy identifies more with the frivolity of his age group as opposed to a more moralistic and responsible approach. Sammy is displayed as a hero (or wants to be) when he defends the girls, but it is soon realized that he only does it for attention. This along with the fact that his plan does not work out makes him less of a hero. 3. The physical description of the three girls seems like the exposition of the story because the rest of it follows them through the store and relates Sammy’s thoughts about them. The carefully detailed portrait of Queenie, the leader of the three girls, is of great value to the story. Queenie seems like a typical proud teenage girl, and she serves to further characterize Sammy. The fact that he quits his job just so this girl will notice him transforms him into a susceptible young man. 4. As the story develops, Sammy goes from taking a mere interest in the girls to noticing their every...