Symbolism In The A & P By John Updike

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When “three girls in nothing but bathing suits” enter a supermarket's cold, “checkerboard green-and-cream rubber-tile floor,” it becomes an incident that neglects the rules according to the stern manager, Lengel (Updike 386). Since small-town areas such as the supermarket in John Updike’s short story “The A & P,” common etiquette regarding modest apparel in a store forces employees to strictly correct those who’ve ignored them. Although the girls in bathing suits weren’t making a scene or diverting attention toward them with intent or obstructing the peace of the public, some, for this instance, Lengel, would argue their actions deserve a punishment specifically public shaming. Sammy is the differing opinion the deconstructs the hostile environment and provides a vivid description of his surroundings, thus, allowing the reader to experience the act of courage first-hand. Updike uses point of view to illustrate that any person can become a hero by defending the mistreated ultimately the action becomes an unexpected fight for justice. Monitoring the girls was intriguing compared to the usual “‘hello (bing) there, you (gung) hap-py pee-pul (splat)’” daily routine (Updike 390). This was the most eventful and mesmerizing event Sammy has come across compared to the ironic "we are happy with our lives" music playing at the supermarket. Adopting an interest in the girls is understandable: he's employed to a grocery store “in the middle of town" where two banks, a Congregational
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