Updike Analysis

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Over the course of many years, society`s perspective on women has changed drastically. In the short story "A & P” by John Updike written in 1961, we see what goes on in an average 19 year old boy’s head when it comes to girls back in that time frame. In literary works, men and women are portrayed very differently. Males are seen as active while females are passive. Throughout John Updike`s short story "A & P" the protagonist Sammy, a young 19 year old male, is constantly judging the cliental who walks into the grocery store, A& P. For example, when three girls walk into the store with nothing but their bathing suits; Sammy’s mind begins to be very active when he is judging the girls. As Sammy watched Quennie “buzz” over to her friends, it made his stomach (and who knows what else) rubs the inside of his apron (Updike 2). Sammy also observed the women in the store turn away when they noticed the girls almost as if they knew what would happen and were ashamed for young girls (Updike 2). At which point, Sammy views all the older, less attractive shoppers as “sheep” pushing their carts around in a herd, or as “house slaves in pin curlers” (Updike 2). Through the choice of words by the author in these references from the book, the reader is led to believe that women were generally portrayed as passive individuals, known to stay at home, cook for their husbands and care for the children while the men were active at work. Once the girls came to the cash register and paid for their items, the foreshadowing thoughts of the elder, less attractive women in the store is realised as the manager of the store approached them and told them that the girls were inappropriately dressed for a grocery store. After being approached by the manager Queenie instinctively started to make excuses for the way that they were dressed, stating “My mother asked me to pick up a jar

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