The Elements In John Updike's A & P

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A&P Capstone: Analyzing The Elements In an address to New York City in 1961, John F. Kennedy told his audience that “conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” In the same year, an American novelist by the name of John Updike wrote a short story fortifying this mindset. In John Updike’s A&P, readers are able to see the battle against conformity in a basic middle-class American life. A young man by the name of Sammy quits his bland, boring job after the arrival of “Queenie and her sheep” in an effort to exemplify that complying with basic standards is fatuous. Through setting, style, characterization, and symbolism, the reader can see the battle against conformity conquered. “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service” is a widely accepted rule in most modern grocery stores– including the A&P where Sammy labored as a cashier. Thus, when three “rich girls” (dubbed Queenie and her sheep)…show more content…
Updike wanted people to see the beauty in everyday life, something that A&P does with Sammy’s distinctive voice. Overall, the style of A&P is very diverse. Sammy goes back-and-forth between past and present tense, giving the allusion of him commenting on events as they are happening. This back-and-forth action makes the short story feel like a stream-of-consciousness storytelling. This type of storytelling is very effective for the simple fact that it makes the readers feel like they are able to take a stance on pro-conformist or nonconformist. A&P revolves around the conflict that derives from three half-dressed girls walking into a “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service” facility. This leads to the complication of the manager telling the girls they are dressed inappropriately, resulting in the climax of Sammy quitting his job. The plot structure aids in taking the readers on a journey with Sammy, making them more comfortable to take their own stance on

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