Analysis Of John Updike 's ' The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company ' Essay example

Analysis Of John Updike 's ' The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company ' Essay example

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Sometimes, the insane choices some men make to gain a woman’s attention works in a way the opposite it was intended too. John Updike delivers an impeccable short story, which can be related to many men’s decisions’ in life. A & P is about a nineteen-year-old man, Sammy, who makes a decision late on in the story, which will haunt him for the duration of his life. For those of you who don’t know, A & P, also known as The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, is a supermarket and liquor store chain in the United States. What makes A & P exceptional, is how John Updike utilizes the grocery store setting as a backbone to influence Sammy’s mystifying and delusional decision making, which then leads to a feeling of regret that will eat at Sammy’s heart forever.
A & P takes place in the 1950’s. At first, this might not say much, but it shows that the short story takes place in time of American prosperity due to the ending of World War II. The store that they used in the story was located in a beach town, which led to the three girls in bathing suits shopping in A&P. If the story wasn’t located in a beach town, the whole plot would have been drastically changed; Sammy wouldn’t have felt the urge to show off to the girls because they would be wearing acceptable clothing in the store, resulting in Lengel, the manager, not confronting the girls as they were checking out. Sammy wouldn’t have felt the urge to quit his job just to stand up for the girls, because there would be nothing to stand up to. Sammy would have then retained his job and moved forward in life. This whole twisted scenario of A & P greatly shows the importance of the main setting and the outcome of the story. Sure, John Updike could have put the location of A & P somewher...


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...owing the fact that he just stood up for them by quitting. They didn’t. I know that after the girls left, they were going to forget about Sammy, but for Sammy, he will remember the girls as the ones who changed the direction of his life.
Overall, A & P was a fantastic short story, which kept me in tune for the entire six pages. I like the way John Updike used the setting to enhance Sammy’s critical decision making. It says something special about the story if this happens because it means that it directly catches my attention, which many short stories don’t do. The entire story was completely relatable, since I’m nineteen years old and work a job like Sammy’s previous one at A & P. I’ve thought about quitting before, but never really had a situation present itself. The fact that A & P connects at a personal standpoint makes it stand out as a great short story.



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