Social Status In John Updike's A & P

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Social status is defined as a person's standing or importance in relation to other people within a society. Social status has affected the world for hundreds of years, from where you were allowed to go to the bathroom, to if you were allowed to vote. The way a person is viewed and treated is all caused by what is believed to be their rank in society and in the short story, “A&P”, John Updike uses irony, symbolism, and characterization to show this. Sometimes people dissatisfied with their opportunities get caught up with what others represent, causing rash decisions that lead to disappointment.

Early in the story, Updike uses symbolism to show that sometimes people unhappy with their options begin to obsess with what others have. Standing
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After Sammy begins to quit Lengel states the recklessness of this decision. Thinking to himself, “it's true I don't. But it seems to me once you start a gesture it's fatal not to go through with it” Sammy realizes his heroic gesture isn't worth it, but once you start something you can't stop in the middle. Sammy takes off his apron, folds it and places it on his third counter slot. Watching with astonishment, Lengel says, “‘You'll feel this for the rest of your life.’” Sammy’s decision is stated by all as a terrible mistake. Sammy slips out of his slot and walks straight towards the door and walks out without looking back. Not surprisingly he thinks to himself, “I look around for my girls, but they're gone, of course.” While trying to use a heroic gesture to feel equivalent to the girls they seem to have not appreciated the gesture and leave.

In his story, “A&P”, John Updike shows that sometimes people unhappy with their opportunities judge people based upon their social class causing bad decisions and later disappointment. Updike utilizes symbolism, irony, and characterization to display the impact of a person’s social class on society. The different social classes of people create a barrier between them leading to the desperation of trying to fit on a different level. Social status is the way a person lives their life and the lifestyle they

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