Analysis Of ' A & P ' By John Updike Essay

Analysis Of ' A & P ' By John Updike Essay

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Lust makes people do crazy things. John Updike’s short story “A&P” provides a perfect example of how lust made a boy quit his job. In this short story, a boy, named Sammy, catches a glimpse of three under-dressed, attractive girls as they enter his workplace. The manager asks the three girls to leave. As a result, Sammy is outraged by the mistreatment of the girls and quits his job in protest. Sammy’s stand against the mistreatment of the girls makes him feel like a hero. Updike’s use of descriptive words and dramatic irony in “A&P” leads the reader to believe that Sammy’s heroic acts were not actions with rebellious intentions, but actions due to his lust for the three under-dressed girls.
Updike’s use of dramatic irony aids the reader to understand that Sammy is exploring his sexuality. When Sammy describes the first girl who catches his attention, the reader realizes that the girl isn 't a girl who society would consider as an attractive girl. Words like “Chunky”(Updike 642), “Chubby”(Updike 642), and “Berry-face”(Updike 642) paints a vivid picture in our mind that the first girl has a rotund figure. A typical pretty girl in society is depicted to have a skinny figure. Updike’s use of a rotund character is an unexpected plot twist. Why Updike would use dramatic irony in his story is simple; he wants to express to the reader that Sammy is at a point in his life where he is exploring his sexuality. Sammy wants to know what characteristics in a girl he finds attractive. The point in life when people explore their sexuality is often times directly correlated with lust. The reason lust is directly correlated with exploring one’s sexuality is because lust lays the groundwork that helps a human to find what characteristics they like ...


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... is a strong physical appearance. All three of the girls described by Sammy are said to have strong physical appearances. The first girl has the “Good Tan” (Updike 642), the second girl has the “Striking” (Updike 643) appearances, and the third girl, Queenie, has the “long…legs”(Updike 644). The theme, the descriptive words and the dramatic irony all explain the reason for Sammy’s heroic actions.
Sammy’s actions were due to his lust for the three girls. The reader can infer this by analyzing the descriptive words and dramatic irony that John Updike provides in the story. Updike lesson to all reader shows the power that lust can have over an individual and it only takes 2 attributes to make someone else fall under this love spell.


Work Cited
Updike, John. “A&P” Perrine’s Literature. 10th Edition. Eds. Thomas Arp and Greg Johnson. Boston: Wadsworth, 2009. 642. Print.

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Analysis Of ' A & P ' By John Updike Essay

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