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Critical Analysis: Themes, Motifs and Symbols

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Critical Analysis: Themes, Motifs, and Symbols

"A & P" is a comic short story written by John Updike in 1961 in which the hero and first person narrator takes a stand for what is right and therefore has hope for a better future. Sammy the main character is an opinionated, sarcastic, disaffected teenager with a healthy interest in the opposite sex. Sammy notices everything around him, from the appearance of the three girls that went into the store just wearing baiting suits in a small grocery store, in New England, to the texture and patterns of their bathing suits and to the different boundaries of their tan lines. Through the story Sammy mention that A&P is located in the center of town, nowhere near the beach, as a result he assumes that the girls went to the store just dressing bathing suit to get people attention. In this story, as you read, you are able to notice that there are a lot of themes, motifs, and symbols that are being hidden in the lines. For example, some of the themes you would find through the story are the power of desire and the mystery of other minds, motifs as how Sammy observes the girls and the brands names that are named throughout the story, and symbols like the bathing suits that the girls were wearing and their colors, and the herring snacks that were being buy by the girls.

"A&P" even though that is a short story, is not easy to understand, you have to take the time to analyze every detail and ask why and how is the author trying to make the point. As

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mentioned before, "A&P" hides its most important details, and each of them has an important value, which can either drive you to understand the story and its importance, or to categorize it as a bored and not useful reading. As you read the story you would find two important themes which are the power of desire and the mystery of other the minds. The power of desire because From the moment the girls walk into the A&P, they attract the gaze of every man in the store, which demonstrates the power their sexuality gives them over the opposite sex. Although they make a point of acting innocent, the girls are well aware of the eyes that are tracking their movements, but the point the girls are trying to make is that as long as they do not acknowledge the men's interest, they are in a position of power, inspiring desire but not subject to it. Their strategy works, and the male employees show degree of sexual interest. However, Lengel ultimately undermines this strategy and tries to lessen their power confronting the girls;



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