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Maturity And Choices In A & P, A Short Story By John Updik

774 words - 4 pages

Many times in our lives, we wish we were independent and we believe we can stand up for ourselves, especially during our adolescence. In “A &P”, a short story by John Updike, the protagonist, Sammy, decides to stand up for himself and go against the customary life style of his town. By doing this such act, he reveals the themes of the story, which include maturity and choices followed by consequences. Updike uses literary devices such as symbolism and tone to help enforce the theme.
There are two major themes in Updike’s “A & P;” one being choices and its consequences and the other being maturity. Choices and consequences can be seen in the three girls, Lengel, and Sammy. “In walk these ...view middle of the document...

Now we get to Sammy, whose choice was to quit, signifying that he was on the girl’s side. His consequence is that he now doesn’t have a job and is left alone with his feelings. The other theme in this story is maturity, which can be seen as Sammy rebels and quits his job thanks to Lengel’s remarks to the three girls. John Updike portrays this act as an idea of growing up and becoming independent. When Lengel states, “...you don’t want to do this to your Mom and Dad” (Updike, 624), it demonstrates that Sammy is not working for himself, but rather for his parents. Therefore, him quitting his job initiates the concept of maturity in his life. However, no one recognizes as he stands up for himself. At the end of the short story, he is left to face the world on his own.
Techniques or literary devices play an important role in this short story, as they help the reader clearly visualize what’s going on and help establish a connection between the protagonist, Sammy and the reader. Two major literary devices noted in the short story are symbolism and the speaker’s tone. John Updike uses animals to symbolize how...

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