John Updike's "A&P"
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This paper analyzes John Updike's "A&P," which is a character-driven short story told in first person by the protagonist, Larry. A nineteen-year-old store clerk in a small New England town, Larry quits his job over an issue of principle, an action that changes and defines his character. It explains how the incident regarding the skimpily dressed girls is like a rite of passage for Larry, who perhaps makes a moral judgment and decision on his own for the first time in his life.
From the Paper:"Whether he realizes it or not, Larry acts with a strong sense of morality. When the three girls walk into the store dressed in revealing outfits and bathing suits, the male clerks can't help but stare. The girls' provocative dress and demeanor causes a moral conflict in Stokesie, Larry's married co-worker, and later in Lengel, his boss. However, Larry is not bothered by the girls. In fact, he is naturally curious and interested in them. He finds their bodies beautiful, as much of the narrative describes his reaction to their movements. Larry does not find their dress inappropriate or immoral, only shocking and daring. This parallels his decision to quit his job: quitting was not an inappropriate or immoral act, but it was a courageous and surprising one. Therefore, Larry's code of morals is based not on a puritanical notion of how young women should dress in a convenience store, but rather on the way people are treated. Larry realizes that no matter how they are dressed, the girls did not deserve to be insulted. Quitting his job made a bold statement to his boss that morality has more to do with superficial notions of decency."
Cite this Analytical Essay:
John Updike's "A&P" (2004, March 14) Retrieved April 24, 2014, from http://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/john-updike-a-p-49640/
"John Updike's "A&P"" 14 March 2004. Web. 24 April. 2014. <http://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/john-updike-a-p-49640/>