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John Updike's A&P Essay

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John Updike's A&P

Many of the events that take place in John Updike's "A&P" would not
have happened had the town lived under a Marxist society. Marxism is a
socio-economic ideal where all people work for the good of the
community and is characterized by not having any social class
distinctions. The division of Classes in "A&P" is very apparent,
especially between Sammy, the protagonist and first person narrator,
and the three girls, one of the three antagonists, who walk into the
store during the exposition. There is also a cast disparity between
Sammy and Lengel, the store manager and another antagonist (along with
society, who complete the three). A distinction is also noticeable
between the three girls and the rest of the shoppers in the
convenience store.

The story is told entirely in flashback and is set in a grocery store
in a town north of Boston, Massachusetts during one Thursday in
summer. During the exposition we learn that Sammy is working one of
the cash registers. Later in the story we are told that he is 19 years
old and by his description of how his parents treat company we can
assume he comes from a middle class family. We are lead to believe
during Sammys narration that the three girls, on the other hand, come
from a rich or high societal background. The way Queenie is described
by Sammy as having prima-donna legs and walking slow while holding
herself straight paints a portrait of a high society woman. The fact
that Sammy calls her prim twice also leads us in that direction. Sammy
looks up to Queenie because she is different and places her on a
higher level than the "sheep" in the store. When Sammy quits his job,
creating a conflict between he and Lengel, his motive is to become the ...


... middle of paper ...


...ls us she was
embarrassed by the whole situation-where she felt out of place because
of her high stature in society. These scenes, of course, would never
have taken place in Marxist cultures because the government would have
provided for it's citizens and the girls would have never found
themselves being humiliated in front of a lesser class of people.

All the conflicts that take place in Updike's "A&P" would have been
avoided in a Marxist society. Lengel and Sammy would have never had a
confrontation because Sammy would not have been trying to impress a
high society girl. Likewise, the three girls would not have found
themselves shopping for a snack in the A&P because the government
would have provided it for them. This leaves us with one question,
however, In a Marxist society, would Sammy have realized his adulthood
or would he have remained a child?


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