A & P By John Updike Analysis

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From Lust To Chivalry: An Analysis of John Updike’s “A&P” “A&P” is a short story by John Updike that takes place at a grocery store in a New England town somewhere north of Boston. In the story, three young ladies enter the store in bathing suits and bare feet and and attract the attention of everyone in the store, including a young clerk name Sammy who happens to be the story’s narrator. While the appearance of three girls in bathing suits might not be a surprise too many people in 2015, this story was written in 1961 when there was a very different view of socially acceptable norms. The conflict between the characters in the story over the girls’ attire (or lack, thereof) and the resulting perspective change of the young narrator foreshadow drastic changes in social expectations in the coming decade. Like most teenagers, Sammy displays a struggle with the concept of conformity. This is demonstrated in his description of the shoppers that he encounters in the store whom he refers to as “sheep”. His disdain for them is clear as he describes one shopper as “a witch with…show more content…
This was probably due to the fact that these three young ladies were the picture of non-conformity; deviating so far from the socially accepted norms of the time that it was hard not to watch them. But Sammy’s interest in the girls went beyond simple conformity. He was attracted to them; at least the one he called Queenie. In describing the way her suit top was fitted, he said “there was nothing between the top of the suit and the top of her head except just her… I mean, it was more than pretty” (747). While some may interpret the detailed way in which he described them to be sexist or chauvinistic, most young men of his age would have the same thoughts about three, scantily clad, attractive young women regardless of the decade. Sammy’s teenage lust, however, ultimately morphs into nobility after he observes an

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