A&P and Other Stories

Aristocrats & Patriarchy: Analyzing John Updike's A&P Through Marxist and Feminist Lenses College

In his short story, “A&P,” writer John Updike presents readers with a seemingly banal reality. Through a first-person narration style, we are introduced to the protagonist, Sammy, a run-of-the-mill young man employed at a run-of-the-mill supermarket, where a run-of-the-mill conflict emerges. While Sammy is assisting customers, irritated and bored with his life, three teenage girls enter the store wearing nothing but bathing suits. Here, Sammy engages with his fellow employees, commenting on their appearances in a fashion reminiscent of the way average boys would describe women. He ogles them, dissecting their looks until his focus lands on the apparent leader, who he refers to as Queenie. The girls peruse the aisles, up and down each one like a maze until they reach their goal: Kingfish Fancy Herring Snacks in Pure Sour Cream. They bring the jar to Sammy to cash-out, and Lengel, the dreary manager, reprimands them for their indecent attire. The story culminates in the girls finishing up and exiting the store, and in an act of heroic prowess, Sammy quits his job. He attempts to catch up with them, but as he walks out, he realizes they are gone. His fair maiden, Queenie, and his opportunity for a better life, have slipped...

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