“In walks these three girls in nothing but bathing suits (Updike 430).” The opening of the short story written by John Updike, called ‘A&P’, immediately creates a sense of bewilderment. The setting the author uses as the backdrop is very essential to the story and helps with understanding the main character’s decision to eventually quit his job at the end. The protagonist and main character is Sammy, an employee of the A&P. Sammy not only walks away from his job, but he also chooses to leave the A&P and what the store represents in the story. John Updike’s ‘A&P’ uses the setting of the story to create a feeling of being restricted.
The time period of the story affects the setting of the A&P. The story takes place in a time when a town had but one grocery store and when all the locals knew each other. Updike provides details and gives clues that the story takes place around the early 1960s. Inside the A&P, there was an aisle that had, “records at discount of the Caribbean Six or Tony Martin Sings or some such gunk you wonder they waste the wax on…” (Updike 433). Tony Martin was an American pop singer that had a successful recording career. The height of Martin’s popularity was during the mid-1950s (“Martin, Tony”). Since the records were discounted and described as gunk, this suggests the A&P was still clinging on to older ideals and was reluctant to move forward. This paints a picture of an old-fashioned era and grocery store.
Since the story takes place in a seemingly quiet and small town grocery store, the setting of the A&P plays a significant role in the story. The setting of the story represented the uniformity a...
... middle of paper ...
...s very essential to the reader as the story’s title is the setting, “A&P”. The setting of the A&P gives the reader the sense that it is the antagonist of the story. Though Sammy is the main character of the story, Updike seems to devote as much time and effort in describing the setting of the story as he does with the characters. The girls in the bathing suits represented a sense of freedom in contrast to the setting of the A&P, which was a feeling of confinement. Once Sammy quits his job and walks out of the A&P, he is no longer restricted by his setting. Sammy then becomes free from the A&P’s rigid mindset.
"Martin, Tony." Encyclopedia Britannica (2013): Research Starters. Web. 8 Apr. 2014.
Updike, John. "A & P." Mays, Kelly J. The Norton Introduction to Literature. Portable 11th ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2014. 429-435. Print.
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