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John Updike’s Short Story A&p

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Essay title: John Updike’s Short Story A&p

Professor Al Osborn, M.A


February 9, 2007

A&P. Discuss

John Updike’s short story, “A&P” is fictional in a sense that it has a common pattern that leads the reader through a series of events. These events began when three young ladies in bathing suits walk in A&P, and catch the eye of a young man named, Sammy. He seems to favor the chunkier girl of the three that walk in to the store.

As the story continues, Sammy curiously watches the provocative young ladies as they stroll through the store looking for groceries. In this fictional story, Sammy describes all three noticeable ladies, the main girl, “Queenie” he describes her as the leader of the two other girls. The second young lady he described was the chunky one; he fully described the chunky girl from head to toe, because Sammy had more descriptive words regarding her appearance. The third girl was the taller of the two. She was not as striking as the other two young ladies. The girls were barefoot and wore bathing suits, which is why they caught Sammy’s attention. The reason being not because of the bathing suits they were wearing, but the way they strolled down the isles with confidence as they walked through the store. These young ladies were, “The kind of girls that other girls think are “Striking” and “Attractive.” (48) Updike wants to let the reader know these girls wanted attention and only attention; by the way he described what they were wearing and how they flaunted themselves.

The third event happens when the girls approach Sammy’s checkout line. They get to the line with the item from the store and placed it heavily in his hand. While he was ringing up the item, he noticed she was not wearing a ring or bracelet. He thought to

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himself, “Not a ring or a bracelet, bare as God made them, and I wonder where the money is coming from.” Updike is luring the reader to believe that the girl doesn’t have a significant other to pay for her merchandise.

The third event in this fictional narrative is the argument that Queenie and the manager, Lengel The feud concluded Lengel upset about the way the girls are dressed, and that they should come into the store next time decent, But Queenie begged to differ, she says she is dressed decent, Lengel says,” Girls, I don’t want to argue with you, after this come in here with your shoulders covered. It’s our policy.”(51) During the arguing, customers started showing up, watching the argument take place at the register. In this event Updike made it known how embarrassed the girls were, he described Queenie as furious and nervous, it wasn’t just Queenie that was

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