Essay on A & P By John Updike

Essay on A & P By John Updike

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Feminism : A Work in Progress
Women as a gender have been objectified throughout time. Their bodies and overall usefulness have been viewed as a man’s property alone. The short story “A&P” by John Updike depicts the objectification of young girls specifically. The three girls in the story are objectified by their choice of wearing swimsuits in a convenience store, and how they reacted to being asked to leave the store. Updike’s short story centers around Sammy, the main figure objectifying the young girls. He uses his persona as a young adult male in the 1960’s to assert his dominance over them, as well as to justify how he can think about and talk to them. The concept of the objectification of young girls by men has been normalized in society or is seen as being a woman or girl’s fault because of what clothing they choose to wear or how they act. Sammy is painted as a hero in a way because of his alleged chivalrous act in defense of the girls. Nevertheless, in the view of feminist criticism, he is a hypocrite in his thinking that he is doing them a favor, and in thinking that because of this favor, the girls are entitled to him. This work of literature reveals how the realities of men objectifying young girls is an almost natural trait within a man from a young boy to an adult. This is revealed in the protagonist, Sammy, because of his actions toward the three young girls, and how he views them.
The very first line in the short story “A&P” by John Updike immediately sets the tone for the rest of the story, “In walks three girls in nothing but bathing suits” (Updike 142). This being the first line of the story depicts a beginning scene where the girls are automatically seen as wearing nothing, although they have their bathing suit...


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...ul writing”. However, it is a prime example of how much feminism has changed from the 1960’s to now, and how much it had needed to be changed. Men and boys now still objectify women in the same old fashioned ways, but the modern women will no longer stand for it, and will rightfully stand up for her rights. Her rights for her choice of clothing, her choice of where she can wear her chosen clothing, and her choice of when she should wear that clothing. The girls were just wearing swimsuits in the store, not asking for an invitation to be objectified. Along with Sammy being a perverted individual by objectifying young girls, he was also a disrespectful boy in his mistreatment of elder women. Sammy was not a hero, in any sense of the word, although he was portrayed like one in the literature. Furthermore, the girls were not improperly dressed, just unfairly objectified.

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