The Revolution of The Young People: John Updike Essay

The Revolution of The Young People: John Updike Essay

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In John Updike’s “A&P”, the revolution of the young people of the current age against authority is explored and explained. “A&P” reveals the shift from conservative and deferential to avant-garde and disrespectful. Through the observation of the behavior of the characters in the story, one can receive a clear picture of the evolution of the sexual revolution that has come in this age. Sammy is the first character that is introduced, he is the protagonist and narrator of the story. Stoksie and Lengel are next, Stoksie is a fellow store clerk with Sammy as well as a good friend and Lengel is the manager of the store. Finally, Queenie is introduced. “A&P” begins with Sammy noticing these three girls that come into the store in nothing but their bathing suits. Sammy then proceeds to analyze each of the girls bodies, finally coming to rest on the leader of the group, his favorite, who he affectionately names to himself, “Queenie”. Although Sammy and Stoksie joke back and forth about the girls sexiness, he is privately revolted by the butchers bluntly ogling the girls as they search for whatever they wish to purchase. Throughout this recounting of the experience, one begins to wonder, when did girls become pieces of meat to be observed and handled by men? They used to be cherished and protected as they should be. The sexual revolution of the past and current decades have changed all of that.
It seems that today, women are seen only as objects of pleasure for men. Such as when the butcher looks at the girls in the store, and was “patting his mouth and looking after them sizing up their joints” (Updike 143) This description of him is aptly put as he is a butcher. Other men, however, look at women, as Greg W. Bentley says, “as if they are...

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... Through “A&P”, John Updike has told of a coming revolution, where the establishments of authority will have to defend each and every rule and regulation that they have put in place. He tells of a revolution where this young generation will break sex from its palace of sanctity. Every single idea that was present in American society that led to the sex driven, often naïve, free spiritedness of the sixties to present day are present in John Updike’s “A&P”.

Works Cited

Bentley, Greg W. Sammy's Erotic Experience: Subjectivity and Sexual Difference in John Updikes "A&P". N.p.: n.p., 2004. N. pag.
Peltier, Robert. An Essay on "A&P". N.p.: n.p., 2002. N. pag.
Saldivar, Toni. The Art of John Updike's "A&P". N.p.: n.p., 1997. N. pag.
Updike, John. “A&P.” Literature Craft and Voice. Ed. Nicholas Delbanco and Alan Cheuse. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw, 2013. 141-145. Print.

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