Lust And Defiance In John Updike's A & P

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Lust and Defiance The short story, “A & P” by John Updike, tells of a time when youth were beginning to rebel towards conventional ways. This story is written in first person and gives an example of how lustful desires can cause a person to turn their back on conformity, and move toward defiance. Lustful desires, self-definition, and defiance are the central themes within this short story. While this was written during the 1960s, this type of youthful rebellion against a structured life still occurs today. This short story takes place when our country was in a time of change. According to an article in the U.S. News and World Reports, “The 1960s: Polarization, Cynicism and the Youth Rebellion,” “there were traditional values such as: family, work ethic, and patriotism during this time” (Walsh). Understanding this time in history allows us to better comprehend the main character, Sammy. He worked 5 miles from the beach as a cashier at the local A & P Grocery store. During one of his shifts, he noticed three young women walking into the store wearing bathing suits. He fixated on every detail of …show more content…

He had a false sense of hope in being a hero and escaping to a better life, so he chose defiance. Most rebellious acts, even today, are based on the need to feel special and differentiated from others. Based on an article in Psychology Today, “Rebel with a Cause: Rebellion in Adolescence,” he is like many of today’s youth who rebel with the thought in mind, “Nobody is going to order me around” (Pickhardt). Sammy had a desire to govern his own life and not conform to rule-following. It seems hard for most youth to see the long-term advantages of hard work and reaching for a goal. They tend to think there is an instant reward, but are often disillusioned and disappointed. Sammy’s mindset was common in the 1960s, and remains prevalent

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