A&P Individualism

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Self-Expression and Individualism
In "A&P" by John Updike it is shown that conformism is a major part of society in that time. In the story everything is like a well-oiled machine, but when three girls’ walks into the "A&P" store all of this changes for Sammy. A theme that is predominant in the short story by Updike is individualism shown by the girls and how Sammy responds to the events in the story. It is clear in the story that individualism wasn't a dominant trait in people. Sammy saw people as “sheep pushing their down the aisle” (Updike 6) In "A&P" there are obvious sign of uniqueness and self-expression. Even when Sammy defies Lengel on how he treats the girls it shows individualism by not conforming to society “Lengel...teaches Sunday school and the rest, but he doesn’t miss that much” (Updike 7). Lengel was a Sunday school teacher and a leader in society. When Sammy acts out it shows great self-expression and individualism like Sammy saw in the girls. Sammy doesn’t conform to society and how “the boss is always right” which would be controversial even today. Sammy felt an immense need to act out in a very dramatic way; he felt it was necessary to rebel to be able to get out of the machine of conformism and be an individual. Individualism is a moral stance, ideology and social outlook. An individualist exercise one’s own goals and desires and value independence and opposes the usual societal conformities. They want to be liberated from government and society. This is like “A&P” with the store as government and the “sheep” as society and Sammy and the girls are the individualists. Sammy then becomes liberated from the government when he quits his job and sees that even though he now sees in himself an individual life is going to be harder on him now that it will be harder for him to conform to life and society. The girls and Sammy also exemplifies individualism by rebellion of authority; Sammy quits his job “”Did you say something Sammy?” ”I said I...
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