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Essay about The Sheep Revolution in John Updike´s A&P

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At first glance, “A&P” written by John Updike, looks like a funny, slangy, youthful story about a young, nineteen year old boy, Sammy, who has the normal problems that come along with his age group; abhorrence for his job, talking despondently about the older generation, and dreaming about girls he sees in the store. However, when people look at the history of the 1960’s, they find it shows a change in American social values and morals. Furthermore, the revolution of multiple groups of minorities through the civil rights movement, such as women, gays, and African Americans just to name a few who were at the forefront of issues during the 1960’s. Also, there was a revolt caused from the distrust of politicians, and from the 1950’s “family values” of strict conservatism to a more liberal view associated with the “hippie movement.” All these culminations of hot button topics can be seen in different characters from John Updike’s short story “A&P”, whether intentional or not. Furthermore, they represent different aspects of what America was going through at that time.
With the dismay of a certain demographic of the population upset by the direction that the United States was heading, there was a growing amount that wanted to return to the “Family Values” era of the 1950’s. No other person depicts this “Prim and Proper” image better than the Sunday school teaching, store manager, Mr. Lengel who chastises the three girls in the story (queenie, plaid, and big tall goony-goony) for their attire while they were in the store shopping. Furthermore, Mr. Lengel doesn’t stop there and goes further to tell them that they must have their shoulders covered the next time they enter the store and that it is the company’s policy in some lack luster...


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...-Goony. Tragic? Yes! Hero? Not in the slightest!
John Updike’s story of A&P as a whole holds true to the events that are in and around the 1960’s. After all, the 1960’s were not called “Tumultuous” by accident. They tackled a lot of different types of issues from political, social, racial, and even radical movements during the decade. Although, Sammy’s decision to quit his job was not one of them. If it wasn’t for Queenie and the gang, it would have been some other excuse, because let’s face it, he hated his job and was looking for a way out. However, once the sun hit his face, so did the reality of his actions. Only then did he see himself growing up with two choices in his path, the 1950’s or the 1960’s.



Works Cited
BrainyQuote. Xplore, n.d. Web. 3 Dec. 2013.
Mays, Kelly J. The Norton Introduction to Literature. 11th ed. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2013. Print.



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