A & P is highly symbolic story

A & P is highly symbolic story with various thematic expressions. It takes into account the individual and adolescent longings to rebel against the common conventions, class conflict, and the rise of superstore mentality in United States during 1950s. It is also an epitome of American social milieu during 1950s and represents its different shades in colloquial and ironic language. Furthermore, it narrates the psychological and emotional transitions from childhood to adolescence in a lucid manner.

The most important feature of the story is its highly symbolic settings. Updike set up the story in 1950s that was “an age when supermarket has replaced the church as the community’s central institutions”.

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
A & P is highly symbolic story
Just from $13/Page
Order Essay

(Wells 132) Gilbert Porter (1972) writes in this regard that, “right in the middle of town, surrounded by ‘two banks and the Congregational church and the newspaper store and three real estate offices’ stands Updike’s symbolic A& P” (p. 1155). So it gives an atlas of the whole American socio-economics set-up in fifties.
Every institute remained a hallmark of American society and its values. The utilization of words ‘right in the middle’ manifests the importance and centrality of these institutional expressions in the American life. A & P symbolizes the “mass ethic of a consumer-conditioned society”. (Porter, p. 1155)
Another important aspect of the story is social structures that Updike’s has constructed and displayed in order to augment the thematic expressions. Sammy, the protagonist can be viewed rebelling against this social structure.
As Larence Jat Dessner puts it, “He is entranced and made enviously defensive by his notion that the under-clad younger shoppers inhabit a higher social station than him” (16) The juxtaposition of visualization to attend a party in Queenie’s living rooms to the factual account of parties at his own home is important illustration of this psychological phenomenon.
Sammy says, ‘When my parents have somebody over they get lemonade and if it’s a real racy affair Schlitz in tall glasses with “They’ll Do It Every Time” cartoons stencilled on. (Updike) Furthermore, Updike has lighted the differences between one social order and the other in a subtle way. For example, in Queenie’s social realm, people eat “Kingfish Fancy herring snacks in Pure Sour Cream” which symbolizes a privileged social class whereas Sammy eats HiHo Crackers that embodies a lower-class status. Lengel, another character, represents the Puritan work ethic.
Strength of the story is utilization of a mixture of themes in a way that produced a unifocal impact on the reader. In addition to above mentioned conflict of social classes, it encircles the rebellious nature of its time. Sammy is caught in social compulsions at the start of the story and symbolizes a convention-ridden individual.
Queenie and her company is an illustration of the rebellious temperament and any other non-conformist attitude and values. She and her party enter and wander around the store barefooted unlike other housewives and people who only comes with shopping lists and remain totally engrossed in them. Updike again uses a subtle image to symbolize their non-conformist behaviour.
They stroll up an aisle against the normal route of traffic. This metaphorically explains their behaviour that is against the social conventions of the time. This makes realize Sammy of his own conditionality. This generates a desire in him to be different from the society. So he rebels against the society. Lengel is juxtaposed with Sammy as he sticks to conventionalities and embodies the strict professional ethics. Mr. recognize him as “the Voice of the Establishment” (1157).  These images illustrate the second theme in a perfect way.

Achiever Essays
Calculate your paper price
Pages (550 words)
Approximate price: -

Why Work with Us

Top Quality and Well-Researched Papers

We always make sure that writers follow all your instructions precisely. You can choose your academic level: high school, college/university or professional, and we will assign a writer who has a respective degree.

Professional and Experienced Academic Writers

We have a team of professional writers with experience in academic and business writing. Many are native speakers and able to perform any task for which you need help.

Free Unlimited Revisions

If you think we missed something, send your order for a free revision. You have 10 days to submit the order for review after you have received the final document. You can do this yourself after logging into your personal account or by contacting our support.

Prompt Delivery and 100% Money-Back-Guarantee

All papers are always delivered on time. In case we need more time to master your paper, we may contact you regarding the deadline extension. In case you cannot provide us with more time, a 100% refund is guaranteed.

Original & Confidential

We use several writing tools checks to ensure that all documents you receive are free from plagiarism. Our editors carefully review all quotations in the text. We also promise maximum confidentiality in all of our services.

24/7 Customer Support

Our support agents are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week and committed to providing you with the best customer experience. Get in touch whenever you need any assistance.

Try it now!

Calculate the price of your order

Total price:

How it works?

Follow these simple steps to get your paper done

Place your order

Fill in the order form and provide all details of your assignment.

Proceed with the payment

Choose the payment system that suits you most.

Receive the final file

Once your paper is ready, we will email it to you.

Our Services

No need to work on your paper at night. Sleep tight, we will cover your back. We offer all kinds of writing services.


Essay Writing Service

No matter what kind of academic paper you need and how urgent you need it, you are welcome to choose your academic level and the type of your paper at an affordable price. We take care of all your paper needs and give a 24/7 customer care support system.


Admission Essays & Business Writing Help

An admission essay is an essay or other written statement by a candidate, often a potential student enrolling in a college, university, or graduate school. You can be rest assurred that through our service we will write the best admission essay for you.


Editing Support

Our academic writers and editors make the necessary changes to your paper so that it is polished. We also format your document by correctly quoting the sources and creating reference lists in the formats APA, Harvard, MLA, Chicago / Turabian.


Revision Support

If you think your paper could be improved, you can request a review. In this case, your paper will be checked by the writer or assigned to an editor. You can use this option as many times as you see fit. This is free because we want you to be completely satisfied with the service offered.

error: Content is protected !!
Live Chat+1(978) 822-0999EmailWhatsApp

Order your essay today and save 20% with the discount code RESEARCH