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John Updike Symbolism

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The short story “A&P” by John Updike introduces us to a young teenager named Sammy who worked at the A&P grocery store looking to find his freedom. Throughout reading A&P, I 've noticed the main character Sammy had a very keen eye that spotted every minor detail. When Sammy saw the three teenage girls only wearing bathing suits enter the grocery store, he perceived the girls dressed as if they were going to the beach. Sammy explained to us in detail the different bathing suits that the girls were wearing and their physical appearances. The primary symbol represented in this story is the bathing suits worn by the three teenage girls. John Updike uses the bathing suits to represent the girls being judged based on their attire and disregarding…show more content…
The grocery store was not that busy, informed in the story that “The stores pretty empty, it being Thursday afternoon, so there was nothing much to do except lean on the register and wait for the girls to show up again” (Updike 475). Sammy did not miss the opportunity to keep his eyes on the girls, especially since he was instantly interested in Queenie who was introduced to us as the leader among the girls. Each of the girls was different and had bathing suits on. Sammy was very descriptive about each bathing suit; he included many details. Queenie “had on a kind of dirty-pink beige maybe, I don’t know bathing suit with a little nubble all over it and, what got me, the straps were down, they were off the shoulders looped loose around the cool tops of her arms, and I guess"(Updike 473). Queenie has noticed Sammy looking at her and didn’t pay him any mind mostly because Queenie knew she was being looked upon by the way she dressed. Especially when the manager Lengel caught eyes with the girls. Unlike Sammy who did not mind the way the girls were dressed Lengel was not pleased with the way the girls dressed in his store, “We want you decently dressed when you come in here” (Updike 476). Queenie stood up for her friends and herself by letting the manager know that they were indeed decent and there was no need for them to be
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