Rebellion And Symbolism In John Updike's A & P

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The short story “A & P,” tells the story of a nineteen-year-old boy named Sammy who works in the local town grocery store. Sammy is the narrator of the story; one day while he was working at the cash register, three girls wearing nothing but bathing suits walk in. He instantaneously notices the girls, one in particular. He named her Queenie and she is seen as the leader or ‘queen bee’ of the three girls. As these girls walk through the grocery store they start to create a scene and get the attention of all the other customers, store manager, and especially Sammy. Sammy begins to imagine what the girls are like and puts different characteristics with each one. He notices their social class and compares it to his own. The reader gets the…show more content…
His strict outlook on the girls is a big indicator of this age and how he grew up. Queenies bathing suit screams rebellion as all eyes were on the girls. The girls instantaneously grasping the attention of all the male characters shows how substantial the bathing suits are as a symbol.
Another major symbol in Updike’s story is sheep. In this short story, Sammy refers to the people shopping in the store as "sheep." This symbolizes that people are followers of the majority and do not use their own brain or logic. They conform to the crowd mentality. "The sheep pushing their carts down the aisle-the girls were walking against the usual traffic (not that we have any one-way signs or anything)-were pretty hilarious” (Updike 18). This was not the only time he described people in the story as sheep. He also refers to the two girls following Queenie around as “sheep.” This was his way of expressing that the girls’ actions because they followed a leader and did not express any ideas or thoughts of their own. The girls conformed to their own friend group. The story displayed that the girls going in the opposite direction showed their rebellious side. Sammy viewed sheep as followers who stick together and act, talk, think, and dress the alike. This is major when looking back to one of the stories theme of conformity. In the 1950s and early 1960s, conformity was a large social standard. Everyone felt as though they had to stay together and do

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