A and P by John Updike: An Analysis

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"A&P" is a short story written by John Updike in 1961 in which the hero and first person narrator seemingly takes a stand for his version of what is right, only to face disappointment. One scholar, M. Gilbert Porter, referred to the titular "A&P" in Updike's story as "the common denominator of middle-class suburbia, an appropriate symbol for the mass ethic of a consumer-conditioned society." According to Porter, when the main character chooses to rebel against the A&P he also rebels against this consumer-conditioned society, and in so doing he "has chosen to live honestly and meaningfully." Professor of English William Peden, on the other hand, referred to the story as "deftly narrated nonsense...which contains nothing more significant than a checking clerk's interest in three girls in bathing suits."

I think that in A&P the author describes how life was decades ago and how it seems to me how life should be today, with out the arguments over petty situations. I think that the story line of A&P is a typical situation in a small town in which the story is situated. I think that this particular story is based in a small vacationing town on the east coast where family’s come back every year to spend there summer days in the sun playing on the beach or in the ocean, where mothers can send there kids to the store barefoot and not have to worry about strange people kidnapping them. Where customers have been coming for years and are treated with the respect you would treat someone in your own family. Sammy’s role in this story seems to be a strange one. He seems to be a teenager yet somehow attracted physically to adolescent girls. He seemed to be in a ways stalking the girls and making sexual notations towards them. Of course I am sure that three girls walking into a grocery store in nothing but bathing suits is not normal but considering the size and type of town I think that it is acceptable.

Why would you quit your job in front of little kids to try and impress...
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