The Struggle Of Power In John Updike's A & P

608 Words3 Pages

In all good stories, there is a theme the author tries to convey. In John Updike’s short story, “A&P”, the author conveys the struggle of power through the significant use of the plot, setting and characters. The narrator, Sammy, begins the story when he notices three girls walk into the grocery store of a small town. The setting already poses a set for a struggle of power. At this point in the story, Sammy describes himself as above the “sheep” -- that is people shopping at the grocery store and even some of his co workers such as Stokesie or McMahon. He places himself above a group of people, giving way to an established hierarchy in the store. . Throughout the story, once the girls enter, there is a shift in power, but not in a dramatic way -- just enough to cause a shift in Sammy’s mind in the end. …show more content…

The fact that the girls come in only their bathing suits establishes confidence within them that people around them can sense and breaks the comfort of the store. This allows them with the opportunity to create a shift in power. On a regular basis, Sammy and Lengel are the most powerful beings, being the ones that are most familiar with the store. As Sammy continues to observe the girls, he finds out there is a leader -- Queenie. She eludes an air of superiority over the other girls. This illustrates yet another power struggle. Queenie carries herself better than her friends, making her stand out from the group. The larger power struggle -- the one in the store -- is caused by of their rebellion to conformity. Although it might not have been a purposeful rebellion -- when they wear the bathing suits rather than “put on a shirt or shoes before” they enter the store -- it challenged the status quo and authority of the hierarchy in the

Open Document