Analysis of John Updike's "A and P"

The story shares a unique perspective on social norms

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Originally published in The New Yorker in 1961, John Updike's short story "A & P" has been widely anthologized and is generally considered to be a classic.

The Plot of the Updike's "A&P"

Three barefoot girls in bathing suits walk into an A & P grocery store, shocking the customers but drawing the admiration of the two young men working the cash registers. Eventually, the manager notices the girls and tells them that they should be decently dressed when they enter the store and that in the future, they will have to follow the store's policy and cover their shoulders.

As the girls are leaving, one of the cashiers, Sammy, tells the manager he quits. He does this partly to impress the girls and partly because he feels the manager took things too far and didn't have to embarrass the young women.

The story ends with Sammy standing alone in the parking lot, the girls are long gone. He says that his "stomach kind of fell as I felt how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter."

Narrative Technique

The story is told from the first person point of view of Sammy. From the opening line--"In walks, these three girls in nothing but bathing suits"--Updike establishes Sammy's distinctively colloquial voice. Most of the story is told in the present tense as if Sammy is talking.

Sammy's cynical observations about his customers, whom he often calls "sheep," can be humorous. For example, he comments that if one particular customer had been "born at the right time they would have burned her over in Salem ." And it's an endearing detail when he describes folding his apron and dropping the bow tie on it, and then adds, "The bow tie is theirs if you've ever wondered."

Sexism in the Story

Some readers will find Sammy's sexist comments to be absolutely grating. The girls have entered the store, and the narrator assumes they are seeking attention for their physical appearance. Sammy comments on every detail. It's almost a caricature of objectification when he says, "You never know for sure how girls' minds work (do you really think it's a mind in there or just a little buzz like a bee in a glass jar?)[...]"

Social Boundaries

In the story, the tension arises not because the girls are in bathing suits, but because they're in bathing suits in a place where people don't wear bathing suits . They've crossed a line about what's socially acceptable.

Sammy says:

"You know, it's one thing to have a girl in a bathing suit down on the beach, where what with the glare nobody can look at each other much anyway, and another thing in the cool of the A & P, under the fluorescent lights, against all those stacked packages, with her feet paddling along naked over our checkerboard green-and-cream rubber-tile floor."

Sammy obviously finds the girls physically alluring, but he's also attracted by their rebellion. He doesn't want to be like the "sheep" he makes such fun of, the customers who are befuddled when the girls enter the store.

There are clues that the girls' rebellion has its roots in economic privilege, a privilege not available to Sammy. The girls tell the manager that they entered the store only because one of their mothers asked them to pick up some herring snacks, an item that makes Sammy imagine a scene in which the "men were standing around in ice-cream coats and bow ties and the women were in sandals picking up herring snacks on toothpicks off a big glass plate." In contrast, when Sammy's parents "have somebody over they get lemonade and if it's a real racy affair Schlitz in tall glasses with "They'll Do It Every Time" cartoons stenciled on."

In the end, the class difference between Sammy and the girls means that his rebellion has far more serious ramifications than theirs does. By the end of the story, Sammy has lost his job and alienated his family. He feels "how hard the world [is] going to be" because not becoming a "sheep" won't be as easy as just walking away.  And it certainly won't be as easy for him as it will be for the girls, who inhabit a "place from which the crowd that runs the A & P must look pretty crummy."

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a&p essay

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A&P and Other Stories

By john updike, a&p and other stories essay questions.

What is the significance of Ace's interaction with the teenager in the car at the beginning of "Ace in the Hole?"

Ace's angry reaction locates him at the same emotional level as the angry teenager, establishing his immaturity and also foreshadowing Ace's fixation on his own adolescence. Ace is also most upset at being called "Dad" by the teenager, even though he is indeed an adult and a father. Ace still longs to exist in his golden years of his youth. It is also important that they yell at each other from their cars; their distance evokes the alienation that Ace feels from everyone around him, including his coworkers and family.

Given his neglect of Bonnie, Ace's desire for another child seems inexplicable. Why might Ace want a second child?

Updike suggests that Ace wants a son who can be an athlete, succeeding where Ace failed. Ace also seems to believe that having another child will mend his relationship with Evey and help Ace to fend off his own mortality, something that Bonnie cannot do because she is a girl.

Does Updike undercut Sammy's critique of consumer culture? Why or why not?

In "A & P", Updike undercuts Sammy's critique of consumer culture as shallow and homogenous by presenting him as an unreliable narrator. Sammy obviously and egregiously exaggerates his own worth and accomplishments, while objectifying Queenie and her friends just as much as Lengel and the customers do. Ultimately, Sammy's rebellion - though well-founded in these cultural outrages - is committed in the hopes of becoming a hero to Queenie. His rebellion is not motivated by political unrest but rather sexual desire.

What is Sammy's attitude toward women? How do women motivate Sammy's actions?

Sammy relentlessly ogles and lusts after the beautiful young women who come to A & P in their bikinis, but he is resentful of older women who have lost their beauty. He wonders if the girls are capable of deep thoughts, or if, instead of a mind, they have "a little buzz like a bee in a glass jar?" The opposite sex is inscrutable to Sammy, perhaps because he finds them unattainable. Sammy's mother is a powerful but mostly absent figure; her presence is felt but we never learn anything about her. Sammy's distant admiration of the women drives all of his actions; he hopes they will be watching when he behaves admirably but he never knows for sure.

How does David's reading of the H.G. Wells book inform the rest of "Pigeon Feathers?"

David's brief interaction with The Outline of History forms an intellectually primal scene, introducing David to the idea of critical, secular thought. David is incredulous that God would allow a poisonous, questioning mind to exist. Ultimately, David rejects critical thought in favor of raw emotion, drowning out his very rational fears of mortality in a violent outburst of shooting. Importantly, the idea of a secular Jesus implies the mortality of the soul; although David's reading and his sudden fear of death seem unrelated, there is actually a causal link between the two scenes. Ultimately, his acceptance of faith comes in the form of natural beauty and not thought or dogma.

At the end of "Pigeon Feathers," does David embrace his father's worldview or his mother's?

By shooting the pigeons, David seems to embrace his father's violent worldview, choosing ignorance rather than recognition of human mortality. However, there are signs that his mother has also influenced him; he appreciates the beauty of the pigeon feathers, and his loyalty to his mother is what leads him to shoot the pigeons in the first place.

What is the significance of Dickie's kiss at the end of "Separating?"

Dickie's kiss demonstrates the deeply profound and personal impact of divorce on an individual, even one who pretends not to care. Importantly, the kiss has a sexual dimension that is inappropriate for a father-son relationship. This suggests the breakdown of received categories of relationships; in the brave new world of divorce, characters must learn the boundaries of each relationship for themselves, rather than relying on pre-established categories. The kiss could also evoke the kiss of Judas, foreshadowing that Dickie will rebel against his parents in the wake of their separation.

Is "Separating" a treatise against divorce? Why or why not?

Although "Separating" paints a very damning picture of marital disruption, Updike does not reject divorce wholesale. Rather, the story shows the consequences of people behaving only in their own self-interest. The Maples' separation is not the cause of their domestic havoc but simply another symptom. When Maple says at the end that he cannot remember why he and Joan are separating, it is said with a tinge of both sadness and wonder. Because of their children, Richard and Joan will always have a relationship. Despite disagreements and subtle sniping, the Maple parents do seem to have a healthy, honest and adult relationship. Divorce, in this case, stems from a lack of love rather than the presence of violence or wrong-doing.

Why might Updike have chosen the title "Short Easter" for this story?

The title of "Short Easter" alludes to a seemingly insignificant aspect of the story; this year, Easter is an hour shorter due to Daylight Savings Time. The short Easter may allude to Fogel's age--late in winter, the days get shorter, and Fogel is in the winter of his life. The short Easter disorients Fogel. When he wakes in his son's room, a dark haze surrounds him. The persistence of mortality is symbolized by the title. It may also refer to the difficulty of changing course in life when very little time is left, just as on a 23-hour-day, one might feel rushed in one's daily activities.

What is the importance of the young woman on the airplane in "Short Easter?"

The narrator alludes to Fogel's affair, but very indirectly--we initially believe that the affair will be with the woman from the plane, only to find that the airplane woman just reminds Fogel of the woman with whom he really had an affair. The layers of memory emphasize Fogel's age and sense of exhaustion, while also pointing to the universality of his experiences--after all, the woman is being wooed by a man not unlike Fogel a few decades ago.

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A&P and Other Stories Questions and Answers

The Question and Answer section for A&P and Other Stories is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.

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What are the most obvious and/or shocking physical characteristics of the A&P's customers. Explain why.

This story is narrated by Sammy, a young cashier at the supermarket A & P. One day, three girls in bathing suits stop in to buy some snacks. Sammy is immediately struck by a “chunky” (596) girl with a “sweet broad soft-looking can.” He is so...

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Study Guide for A&P and Other Stories

A&P and Other Stories study guide contains a biography of John Updike, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

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Essays for A&P and Other Stories

A&P and Other Stories essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of A&P and other short stories by John Updike.

  • Shopping for Principles at the A&P
  • Three Bikinis and a Pyramid of Diet Delight Peaches: An Analysis of the Six Basic Elements of Fiction in John Updike’s “A & P”
  • Aristocrats & Patriarchy: Analyzing John Updike's A&P Through Marxist and Feminist Lenses

Lesson Plan for A&P and Other Stories

  • About the Author
  • Study Objectives
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  • Introduction to A&P and Other Stories
  • Relationship to Other Books
  • Bringing in Technology
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  • A&P and Other Stories Bibliography

Wikipedia Entries for A&P and Other Stories

  • Introduction
  • Character profiles

a&p essay

John Updike’s “A&P”: Literary Analysis

Introduction.

John Updike’s short story “A&P” is narrated from the perspective of a teenager Sammy, who belongs to a working-class family but strives to join the privileged part of society. The work is built around the three main motives: division of social classes, conservatism versus liberalism, and consumerism versus romanticism. Written on the brink of the old order, the story brings fresh, yet controversial ideas, challenging the established attitudes of the readers. In “A&P” the author utilizes bathing suits and herring snacks to symbolize the outdatedness of gender roles and the importance of individuality.

Bathing Suits

Bathing suits are one of the primary symbols of John Updike’s short story “A&P.” As suggested by Bentley, the author uses the unusual attire to characterize Sammy’s pattern of thinking throughout the story (121). Entering the supermarket while only wearing bathing suits, girls disregard the established social norms of the small town. Rebellious and deliberately provocative, the act of wearing bathing suits calls immediate attention from the towners who accuse young women of attracting unnecessary attention from male strangers (Bentley 121).

Lenger, the authority figure in Updike’s short story comments that girls’ attire is inappropriate for his store and forbids them from entering until they cover their shoulders. In a contemporary context, bathing suits would symbolize gender stereotyping and sex-shaming that still frequently occurs at school and the workplace. Unlike the regular grey clothing worn by housewives who enter the supermarket daily to do grocery shopping, the girls’ bathing suits drastically differed with bright colors, catchy patterns, and memorable prints.

A representation of sexuality and femininity for girls, bathing suits carry a different meaning for Sammy who is initially mesmerized by the female’s attractive appearance and young vibrant personality. Sammy perceives bathing suits as a symbol of freedom and an opportunity to escape from the limited society wherein he finds himself stuck since childhood (Porter 1158). Inspired by the girls’ ability to disobey the norms of social conduct, the man decides to go against the system, removing his apron and bowtie, symbols of the corporate uniform (Updike 614). Though Sammy dares to quit his job, the freedom communicated by the girls’ act remains inaccessible to him (Porter 1158). Unsure how to fight for his rights and grow his independence from the limiting social order, he ends up wearing the freshly ironed white shirt, combatting feelings of uncertainty and doubt.

Herring Snacks

Another notable symbol of Updike’s short story is herring snacks. When Sammy sees Queenie purchasing the Kingfish fancy herring snacks in pure sour cream in the store, he starts presuming her socioeconomic status (Porter 1159). The snacks bought in the shop take on a symbolic value in the man’s eyes as Queenie mentions that her mother asked her to get some food for the party organized in the house in the afternoon.

The vision of herring snacks helps Sammy to imagine the type of party held at Queenie’s mother’s house (Porter 1159). He unconsciously compares the official suits, luxurious cocktails, and expensive food served at the woman’s social gathering with the lemonade and Schlitz beer offered to his parents’ guests (Updike 618). Fascinated, yet puzzled with his discovery, Sammy understands that his family would never afford to buy herring snacks for a casual party, treating the occasion of purchasing new beer glasses as a festive event.

As the man attempts to predict Queenie’s social status based on her purchases, he also assumes her attitudes to people belonging to the working class. In his opinion, the girl treats people running the A&P store as inferior to her and her family (Porter 1159). Without having objective evidence for making such an assumption, Sammy feels heightened and euphoric with his realization. In a pointless effort to impress Queenie and approach her social class, Sammy quits his job. What may seem like a courageous gesture of self-liberation, from one perspective, may appear as a doomed attempt to overcome social constraints strengthened by envy and stereotypes.

Individual VS Collective

The theme of individuality is dominant in the plot of Updike’s short story, expressed through Sammy’s perception of freedom. The protagonist envisions liberty as an individual’s freedom to be different from the tendencies dictated by society (Bentley 124). Surprisingly, the author’s main goal is not to advocate the importance of individuality but approach the topic holistically with an argument presented on both sides. From one perspective, Sammy condemns the “sheep” instinct of the working-class people who are scared to express their personality through unusual appearance, looks, or patterns of behavior (Bentley 124).

In this case, conformity appears as a social curse that limits a person’s ability to progress and move forward, overcoming the restrictions of one’s social class (Bentley 124). The man emphasizes that compliance does not nurture creativity or growth, closing an individual in the frames of the old order.

From another perspective, conformity to the collective norms is convenient and secure. Following the established canons of behavior is a way to ensure financial stability and have a full-time job. Yet, Sammy does not seek security or convenience, willing to rebel against the limitations of a low-paid working-class job of a cashier (Bentley 126). The problem arises when the man fails to understand that expressing one’s individuality comes with a very high cost. Losing a job and failing to impress the girl from the upper social class, he starts doubting whether the collective attitude is that debilitative (Stearns 394). With such a conclusion, Updike makes a slightly pessimistic, yet important point, individuality is rare. Regardless of the current political or socioeconomic trends promoting authenticity and freedom of choice, most people will continue adhering to the collective attitudes.

Women VS Men

Another dominant theme that deserves closer attention in “A&P” is traditional gender roles. As per the story’s setting, the woman is still viewed as a housewife with a predefined set of activities and occupational possibilities (Stearns 397). The scope of the females’ rights is so limiting that, indeed, men have the privilege to choose their wives ’ clothes, accessories, and hobbies. Yet, the stereotypical chain of gender roles gets broken in the story when girls wearing bathing suits enter the supermarket, creating an opposite picture to what was common in the 1950s-1960s in the US (Toni 22). From one point of view, entering the supermarket in bathing suits is provocative and even scandalous. It may draw unwanted attention and spoil the women’s reputation.

However, the author does not incorporate this scene to emphasize ladies’ sexuality as such. Instead, he points out that women have a right to be in full control of their bodies, choosing what to wear and what parts of the body to show. Updike clearly marks his territory, condemning the scene of sex-shaming by the store’s manager (Stearns 398). With this powerful message, he suggests that males should be ashamed to make sexist comments on the basis of women’s looks.

Another interesting detail to mention is that Updike puts a line between the working class and upper class using the opposite gender roles. A woman is used to symbolize the luxury, wealth, and inaccessible privileged social class, while a man represents the middle class. Though the author does not give a background story of Queenie’s career, implying that she is rich by heritage, he raises an important point that females can belong to the privileged social class even without being married to a wealthy gentleman.

Working Class VS Upper Class

The motif of social classes division is particularly important for the understanding of the story’s symbolism. Sammy, an impulsive teenager belonging to the working class, divides the customers of the A&P store into two categories, working-class and upper class, on the basis of their purchases, appearance, and clothing (Toni 24). Though the man has never directly interacted with the representatives of the upper class, he deliberately pursues communication with rich people, envying their social advantages and societal position. His delusional outlook on wealth is formed through the prism of several foregone conclusions (Toni 22).

First, he views individuals belonging to the upper class as liberated because of their attire and material things owned. Second, Sammy suggests that rich people do not live according to the social rules dictated by the masses.

As the story progresses, the protagonist makes an even more outrageous distinction, comparing the working class with sheep, all of whom think, dress, talk, and act alike. Sammy’s fear to belong to the low socioeconomic class is so prevalent that Lengel, his manager, can easily scare him with a notion of having a working-class job for the rest of his life (Toni 20). Blinded by the superficiality of the upper-class life, the teenager defends the privileged society members while the latter fails to acknowledge his existence (Toni 19). Hoping to overcome the struggles of a working-class man, Sammy loses his job and embarks on a journey of liberation. Yet driven by adolescent romanticism, he fails to understand that there is much more to the privileged upper class than fancy snacks and less restricted clothing.

Conservatism VS Liberalism

One of the critical motifs for the understanding of Updike’s setting is the 1950s American conservatism, where the societal order was dominated by the assigned gender roles and strict social norms. Failure to adhere to the common rules frequently resulted in public condemn and exclusion from social gatherings (Stearns 394). Safe conformity to the peaceful routine order served as a valid alternative to the destruction brought by World War II.

Challenging the conservative order, the protagonist of the “A&P” characterizes “sheep” or so-called grey masses of housewives belonging to the working class using the term conformity (Stearns 394). In contrast, the girls wearing bath suits to the supermarket represent the new liberal beliefs, where complacence is the less prevalent and stereotypical confrontation of the appearance is rather an exception than a rule.

It is essential to understand that liberalism was only rising in the 1960s when Updike wrote his short story, meaning that the crash of old values with new attitudes effectively resonated with the audience. As the author describes rattled customers who lost direction after seeing young attractive girls wearing bath suits, he implies that readers, fascinated by the story’s motif, also felt confused with the rebellious provocative ideas (Stearns 395).

Liberal motives of “A&P” are expressed with the ongoing theme of freedom of choice, interrelated with the freedom of occupation. Ironically, opposing the conservative order, Sammy unties his apron and replies to the manager’s inquiry with an old-fashioned expression “Fiddle-de-doo” (Stearns 395). Yet, what the protagonist fails to realize is that liberalism comes with its own challenges. Coming to this conclusion at the end of the story, Sammy is left wondering regarding the convenient conformity of conservatism contrasted with the ambiguous freedom of liberalism.

Consumerism VS Romanticism

Consumerism is another prevalent motif, present in Updike’s short story. The author builds the fabula of his work around the major social problem of defining happiness through material wealth. Sammy, the protagonist, is stuck between the heightened romanticized ideas of liberalism and the stereotypical perception of freedom in regard to the owned goods (Dabek 3). Just like most of the people belonging to the working class, the teenager strives to accumulate wealth to purchase fancy food and clothing. As he pictures an image of freedom, he inevitably sees white jackets, herring snacks, and expensive drinks (Dabek 4). Instead of seeing freedom as a logical consequence of spiritual transformation and liberation from societal stereotypes, the man associates the abstract term with material things, blinded by their price.

The problem of consumerism depicted in Updike’s “A&P” echoes a common idea of the American dream, where every individual from the working class can build his/her way to the privileged upper class. Liberal ideas and romanticized concepts do not intrigue Sammy as much as the opportunity to spend money and own goods that are currently inaccessible to him because of his socioeconomic status (Dabek 5).

For some, the issue of consumerism is closely associated with greediness and the decay of moral values. Yet, the author does not describe Sammy’s outlook on the world as such, ironically pointing out his naïve adolescent beliefs regarding the division of social classes and the role of material things in life (Dabek 5). Though the protagonist actively attempts to show the reader that romanticism is outdated, his effort to transform his life due to romantic notions suggests the opposite.

In conclusion, Updike’s short story “A&P” is a twentieth-century hymn, commemorating a struggle of an individual from the working class striving to enter a privileged part of society. The two notable symbols that accompany the development of the plot are bathing suits and herring snacks. Bathing suits represent the rebellion against the established societal order, while herring snacks stand for the high socioeconomic status.

The two aforementioned symbols are intertwined with the corresponding themes of individuality and gender roles. The author raises an important point regarding conformity to the social norms and adherence to the assigned gender roles. Through the eyes of his characters, Updike condemns sex-shaming, suggesting that it is time for women to have full control over their bodies. The themes of the story are beautifully complemented with the three motifs, focused on class division, consumerism, and liberalism. Though tempting, the transition from the old order to the new way of life is not always smooth, pushing an individual to rethink his/her views and values.

Works Cited

Bentley, Greg W. “Sammy’s Erotic Experience: Subjectivity and Sexual Difference in John Updike’s “A & P.” Journal of the Short Story in English, vol. 43, 2004, pp. 120-141.

Dabek, Anna. Consumerist Society and its Impact on the Individual in “A&P” by John Updike . GRIN Verlag, 2014.

Porter, Gilbert M. “John Updike’s “A&P”: The Establishment and an Emersonian Cashier.” The English Journal , vol. 61, no. 8, 1972, pp. 1155-1158. Web.

Stearns, Jennie. “Resistance on Aisle Three?: Exploring the Big Curriculum of Consumption and the (Im)Possibility of Resistance in John Updike’s “A&P.” Curriculum Inquiry, vol. 41, no. 3, 2011, pp. 394-415. Web.

Toni, Saldivar. “The Art of John Updike’s “A & P.” Studies in Short Fiction, vol. 34, no. 2, 1997, 1-25.

Updike, John. “A&P.” Making Literature Matter: An Anthology for Readers and Writers, edited by John Schilb and John Clifford, Bedford, 2012, pp. 614-619.

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a&p essay

A&P by John Updike: Plot Summary Research Paper

Introduction, the summary of the plot, the discussion.

The world of literature is the source of new ideas, thoughts and inspirations. The authors make us think over our life. Undoubtedly, everyone has the right to have their own opinion and the literature encourages us being open-minded and independent in our judgments. The novel A&P by John Updike is one of the works, which has a rather simple plot but involves the important message to the public.

The aim of this essay is to summarize the plot of A&P by John Updike and to discuss the main idea of the novel.

The plot of the novel unfolds at the grocery shop A&P, where a young man Sammy works. He is the main character and the narrator of the story, which happened to him in the work place. Sammy is only 19 years old and, in contrast to the most of population, he has rather rebellious views on the American consumerism.

At the same time, people, whom he observes every day at the shop, are, obviously, the bright examples of the consumer society influence. Besides, Lengel, a manager of the store, plays an important role in the plot of the novel. He is the conservative and strict man, who considers any person’s behavior, which is different from the behavior of the majority, as an inadmissible.

One day, three girls in bathing suits enter the shop. Sammy becomes charmed by them. While watching they are shopping at the store, he is examining their bodies. His sexual dreams do not leave his mind. However, we get to know that he is rather cynical about the two of the girls. It seems like they have failed his evaluation and cannot compete with the third one, whose appearance he considers as perfect. In his thoughts, he calls her Queenie. It seems like she is a leader among the three friends.

The confrontation occurs when the manager of the store criticizes the girls for their look and indicates to their bathing suits with reproof. The girls have to leave the store. Sammy feels himself hurt and disgusted. In a fit of temper, he leaves the job.

The consumer society is, undoubtedly, the main theme of the novel by John Updike. The author shows how much people are concerned about the satisfaction of their desires. He emphasizes that the customers at the shop are willing to buy the snacks rather than the food staff necessary for living.

They, essentially, spend their money on nothing. The character of Sammy is far more complicated as it seems at the first glance. Although, ironically, he is driven by his physical desires as the customers do, he feels an inner rejection of the commonly accepted way of life as well as of the hypocrisy and conservatism of the manager. Sammy rebels against the consumer society when he leaves his job.

The controversy is obvious in the plot of the novel. On the one hand, the main character feels rejection of the consumerism, and, on the other hand, he scrutinizes the figures of the girls from the consumer standpoint.

I guess the main idea of the novel is not only the shame on the primitive values of the consumer society but also, and maybe even more importantly, the shame on the conventionalism and non-acceptance of the views different from the ones, which are spread in the society.

The author blames the society for the hypocrisy and the duplicity. The ambiguity can be noticed in the attitude and behavior of the manager of the store. He upbraids the girls for their immodest look but is eager to facilitate the sales at his store at the same time. It becomes clear that he is a part of the consumer society as well but, in contrast to Sammy, his strict and conventional views do not allow him being open-minded and flexible.

The theme of human body also takes the central place in the novel. I think the author tries to show that people like a manager Lengel are cared about the look, which the others have, much more than about their inner nature. They forget about the spiritual side of the world.

The themes of the consumer society and the human body are closely interconnected. The sexy figures of the girls and the attitude of Sammy to them symbolically represent the temptations of the modern world. The question is how much the figures of these girls are different from the plenty of the snacks and other trifles offered at the store in the opinion of Sammy.

In order to sum up all above mentioned, it should be said that the novel A&P by John Updike depicts the reality of the modern society. The theme of consumerism takes the central place in the plot of the novel. The main character rebels against the hypocrisy and duplicity of the modern society. At the same time, he is tempted by it as well.

The author emphasizes the ambiguity of the attitude of many people nowadays. On the one hand, they stand up for the modesty as well as for the certain model of behavior and are eager to enjoy the pleasures of the consumer society, on the other hand.

  • Chicago (A-D)
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