Satire In John Updike's A & P

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A group of girls walk into a grocery story with nothing but a bikini on and all eyes immediately swoop to the bare skin that is showing. Attention always shifts when a bare shoulder is seen in almost any public setting. The controversy over what is suitable to wear in public is often seen in present day news. In the short story “A&P” written by John Updike, the main theme shown is dressing in the minimal amount of clothes can draw attention to one's appearance. The theme can be found through a humorous tone as a clerk at the local grocery store checks out the local shoppers. For one thing, the theme is shown all throughout the short story heavily. The clerk in the grocery store, Sammy, shares his every thought about the girls as they strut around the…show more content…
The argument as what is and is not appropriate is always a touchy subject. In the short story however, there are some offensive sayings and motions mentioned towards the girls acting innocent in their bathing suits. One of the main examples of being offensive towards the girl's appearance is shown when the girls ironically venture to the meat department of the grocery store. Updike uses his words very clearly through the narrator to state, “... old McMahon patting his mouth and looking after them sizing up their joints. Poor kids, I began to feel sorry for them, they couldn’t help it”(360). This shows how the man working behind the meat counter was not looking at the girls with the right intentions of helping them find the needed item they were looking for. Instead, McMahon was comparing the size of their bodies for his own liking. This is shown as repulsive to most women and not found in a humorous manner. Another example of other audiences thinking the tone of the novel is not humorous but sexist is when Sammy and his fellow cashier , Stokesie, making comments about how he wishes they call him daddy and hold him tight

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