Symbolism in 'A & P' by John Updike

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“A&P” is a short story by John Updike about a young man by the name of Sammy. Sammy works at a grocery store by the name of A&P on the east coast, which is smack in the middle of town and 5 miles from the beach. However, Sammy’s dull workplace gets flipped upside down when 3 girls stroll in wearing bathing suits. This changes Sammy’s life forever as he takes a rite of passage to learn about conformity, power, and girls. One of the things Sammy comes to understand during his job is how he is to be one with the corporate system symbolized by A&P. At the beginning, Sammy is quite clear that he is not like the “sheep” and “house-slaves” shopping up and down the aisles. Sammy is confident that he is neither a conformist like Stokesie, who wants to climb the management ladder, nor is he a lackey like Lengel, who haggles over cabbages and hides behind his office door all day. As he surveys the scene, Sammy displays this wise guy attitude. However, this persona disappears when the three girls enter the store in bathing suits. As these girls have a disruptive effect on the usual order of the store. Causing Sammy to become distracted and make an error in a customers transaction. The girls move against the traffic flow of the…show more content…
And as Stokesie takes notice of the girls, Lengel comes out to protect his store and his values. These girls challenge Sammy, as he can see through everyone in that store, except the girls. He can’t seem to figure them out, so they cause him to question
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