A & P, By John Updike

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From the beginning of mankind, one’s survival relied solely on instinct. A psychoanalytical lens can be used to analyze A&P, a short story by John Updike, lone, a piece of art by John William Godward, and “To My Best Friend - Short Film”. Through this lens, readers can draw the theme that all humans have basic instincts and urges that lie in the unconscious mind. Throughout Updike’s A&P, it stands clear that we are always being influenced by fundamental human desires. A&P is told from the perspective of Sammy, a teenage cashier at A&P. In the beginning of the story, three teenage girls enter the store dressed lightly in only their bathing suits, catching his eye. “She was a chunky kid, with a good tan and a sweet broad soft-looking can…show more content…
Not only that, but regardless of her (Queenie’s) straps being pushed off, something viewed as rather unseemly, he still describes her as something ‘clean’ and bare, something untarnished and rich. Sammy’s frankness in ogling of the girls shows his immaturity as he is unable to control his lustful thoughts for them. Along with the inability to reign in his desire, Sammy also puts himself on airs by looking down on the customers and his fellow co-worker Stokesie. “All this while, the customers have been showing up with their carts but, you know, sheep, seeing a scene, they had all bunched up on Stokesie…” (Updike 4). Exposed to Queenie’s almost otherworldly air of class, Sammy struggles to separate himself from the rest of them as an attempt to convince himself that there could ever be a possibility of them being anything more than cashier and customer. This altogether represents how one’s subconscious desire can move one to act in different ways. John William Godward’s painting lone portrays how the maintenance of appearance and self preservation is a desideratum. The painting consists of a pale, curly haired brunette woman with a flower crown set on her head, looking into a handheld mirror as she strikes a pose with her opposite hand. Flowing down from her shoulders and around her waist, the sheer quality of her gown paired with the tightness of the gold ribbon wrapped tightly to accentuate her figure exudes sensuality.
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