A & P By John Updike

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Throughout the short story A&P written by John Updike, we see how men and women are seen in that time. By taking the Marxist approach, Updike was successful in placing sexual, gender and authoritative powers throughout A&P to portray how males objectified women in society of the early 1960’s. By using the emphasis of the girl’s bare skin we see the influence of sexual power. Having the story told from a man’s point of view, we see the stereotypical way they view girls and how this may affect them. From the presence of Lengel we see the power of authority switch from the girls to the older man in the conflict of the story. Throughout Updike’s work, the characters explore their own sexual desire which leads to the exploitation of women’s bodies in society. Sammy, the protagonist, focuses on the girl’s bare skin revealing his true intentions. He states “the two smoothest scoops of vanilla he had ever known.” (Updike 196), referring to the girls breasts. In the beginning of the story Sammy acknowledges that they are wearing bathing suits but he soon moves on to what they aren’t wearing, indicating that his main interest is their bodies. By giving extreme detail into their bare skin it reveals that his main interest is not that they aren’t wearing clothes, but the places themselves that are not covered by clothes. Sammy draws a parallel between the commodities and the girl’s bodies by referring to the girl’s bodies as items found in the supermarket. He describes

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