Starting with Sammy’s narrations which are basically the majority of the story, discounting dialog between characters. There are instances in which Sammy uses language in his narration that objectifies women. When Sammy is first describing the girls’ looks, but more specifically, mentions that one of them had a “sweet broad soft-looking can” (Updike 201). Here starts the Objectification of women. Sammy continues to talk about the girl in the plaid swimming suit’s butt more than any other descriptor mentioned earlier in the text. Sammy’s focus is even effected at how intent he was staring at the girl. He couldn’t even remember if he had rung up a box of HiHo crackers (Updike 201). Sammy was just looking at the part of the girl that he wanted to see rather t...
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...s” (Updike 202). What do people do when they are shopping in the meat department? They are inspecting the meat looking for the best cuts. The integration of the butcher’s inspection of the girls is a comparison to the reality that we live in, with men objectifying women for what they can see.
When looking at Updikes “A&P” thru a feminist literary lens there is quite a lot to see. A large theme of female objectification is prevalent when looking at Sammy’s narration as well as the setting where the story takes place. Women’s inequality in the world is also reinforced within the story with the characters interactions, as well as the setting used in the short story. While I do not think that this short story intended to be guided by a patriarchal hand, it just happened due to the concepts identified in the story which are commonalities within the society we live in.
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