John Updike’s A & P: Analysis & Theme

The short story A & P, by John Updike, can be broken down into a number of components, which include characters, setting, plot, point of view, and the theme.

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A & P is a story about a young man, about 19, named Sammy, who is a cashier at a local supermarket. His supporting characters are: Lengel, who is the store manager; Stoksie, Sammy’s buddy and a cashier; and Queenie plus her two followers, who are unusual customers at the supermarket.

The setting of the story is in the early 60’s in an ordinary supermarket, which is located in a small quiet town, north of Boston. Most of the customers are old and conservative, with a few tourists here and there.

A & P is surrounded around Sammy, a teenager, who is about to become an adult. The story, basically, shows the first step of his metamorphoses.

The events of the story are seen through eyes of the main character. The reader is able to experience his points of view, his feelings and his problems.

I believe that John Updike’s main theme of the story is the idea of growing up, being independent, making decisions on our own, and being responsible for the consequences. The point in life where we can’t do what people around us would like us to, and therefore being decisive and a little selfish, is the idea incorporated Sammy’s life where he rebels and escapes from being trapped by his parents to become more independent and adult-like.

In my opinion, the story was well written. The author presented his idea across in an interesting and simple way, making A & P a great piece of work.

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