A&P Archetype Analasys

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  • Topic: Archetype, Femme fatale
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Dondrei Hubbard

English 1102
7, Febuary 2013
Archetypal Analysis of “A&P”
An archetype is a recurring image, symbol, character or situation. Archetypes are also expressions of universal concepts. The story “A&P” by John Updike is about a young cashier at a local grocery store who is suddenly distracted by three girls that are dressed in bathing suits and look like they don’t belong. As the girls were checking out the store manager lectured the girls about how their attire was inappropriate and they could never come into the store again dressed liked they were. Sammy who seems to be head over heels of the three girls quits his job in failed attempt to get the girls attention. “A&P” uses many different archetypes in this story such as femme fatale, fall of man, and the coming of age to illustrate the power of desire.

Sammy is the prototypical teenage boy with a healthy interest in the opposite sex. He is very observant and descriptive. He tries his best to over emphasize the appearance of the three girls that he sees walking in the store. Some of his observations consisted of using a metaphor to compare the girls to bees. Sammy even goes as far as nick naming the girl he thinks is very attractive Queenie to show how dominant and more important she was over the other three girls. Sammy also describes the assets that Queenie has.” With the straps pushed off, there was nothing between the top of the suit and the top of her head except just her, this clean bare plane of the top of her chest down from the shoulder bones like a dented sheet of metal tilted in the light. I mean, it was more than pretty” (Updike 3). This quote is the perfect example of femme fatale, because it is an example of an attractive and seductive woman, esp. one who will ultimately bring disaster to a man.

This story also represents a coming-of-age for Sammy.  From the time the girls enter the grocery store, to the moment they leave; you can see changes in Sammy.  At...
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