A&P Literary Analysis

by Otelia Barratt, June 2014

1500 words

5 pages


A&P is a coming-of-age ironical story written in 1961 by John Updike. This is a story of a modern-day rebellion that starts with rather catching and peculiar phrase “In walks these three girls in nothing but bathing suits”(Updike, n.d.). A&P is considered to be rather striking and meaningful, sometimes even the one that was written before its time. This story has been thoroughly analyzed many times, yet each time it shows new and new sides and meanings hidden within.

John Updike was the only child in his family that resided at the Shillington, Pennsylvania. John Updike’s mother also tried her abilities in the sphere of literature, and became a freelance writer. His father, that taught mathematics at the high school, supported the family. Many of the author’s popular stories were drawn up from his personal experiences and knowledge of life. He has studied at the Harvard University, where English was his major. After his graduation, John Updike fulfilled his dream and became a writer for The New Yorker. Later, he and his family moved out to live at the small town of Ipswich, Massachusetts. He became concerned with religious themes and the issues of life, death and faith. These motives also infiltrated his fiction work. Becoming a successful writer, John Updike was able to travel throughout the world visiting a lot of countries, including the U.S.S.R. He also gave lectures at number of countries at Africa, being on the Fulbright program. The peculiar thing about John Updike is that he was able to write literary pieces of almost every possible literary genre, paying more attention to novels, reviews, essays and short stories. John Updike continued his fruitful work up until January, 2009, when he died of the lung cancer. His prose was primarily concerned with the lives of ordinary, middle-class people in America’s small cities and towns. During his life, and after death John Updike's abounding prose was widely recognized for its unique style, natural flow of speech, colorful, even harsh, vocabulary, his skill and comprehension. His books are known for the attention to emotions of the characters, details, descriptions and sensuality. Henceforth, John Updike is considered to be one of the greatest and bright authors of his time. He has won a plethora of high awards, including the Pulitzer prize (John Updike, 2009).

A&P is one of the most famous and anthologized short fiction story. Generally, the style, flow and vocabulary of the story are highly appraised, critics' and readers' opinion has split in two concerning the content and sense of the story. Some believe it to be a masterpiece, others think that it has no meaning. Usually, critics dispute whether Sammy’s action are brave, honest and admirable or inappropriate and misleading that leaves the story without proper conclusion. The plot of the A&P story is concerned with a narrator, a teenage boy named Sammy, who works as a clerk at the A & P grocery store. The store is located in a small town located …

Download will start in 20 seconds


Note that all papers are meant for inspiration and reference purposes only! Do not copy papers in full or in part. Papers are provided by other students, who hold the copyright for the content of those papers. All papers were submitted to TurnItIn and will show up as plagiarism if you try to submit any part of them as your own work. Assignment Lab can not guarantee the quality of the user generated content such as sample papers above.