Close Reading of “a & P” by John Updike

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This particular scene of the story has several aspects coming in to play, really showing the different prospective of different people. “Girls, I don’t want to argue with you. After this come in here with your shoulders covered. It’s our policy”. This is a very important piece of the story because it encourages the reader to think deeply about the text. Lengel, the store manager, refers to the group as girls which is very interesting because he could have gone with saying ladies but he didn’t. The reason the author chooses to put the word “girls” in there is to show that Lengel is not entirely respecting the group as young adults. He is really talking down to them and is not treating them as an equal. In a professional setting, or when a manager is talking, typically they would use the term ladies. Lengel comes off as very strict and doesn’t really act politely towards the group of girls. “I don’t want to argue with you”. By saying this he shows that he really doesn’t want to hear their side of the story and doesn’t really let them explain why they are dressed in a certain way. It was as if their opinion didn’t matter to Lengel. He really doesn’t respect them at all because of their age, and the way that they are dressed. “After this come in here with your shoulders covered. It’s our policy”. Here Lengal fully attacks their clothing and doesn’t accept it. Lengel could have just let them go and not confront them at all, but something really annoyed him, which was the clothing. The clothing was something that he was not used to looking at. From the story, it seems that the Lengel wasn’t alone. The rest of the customers stared and glared at them as they wandered the aisles. That is where the “our policy” portion comes into play. By bringing up that their clothing is not acceptable in the store, Lengel is representing a group of people. That group is the rest of

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