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In "A & P" by John Updike, why would the setting matter to or affect Sammy's actions?
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Elementary School Teacher
John Updike's story "A & P" is all about the setting. If the story had not occurred in a grocery store in a beach town with the dubious hero, Sammy, being a clerk in the A & P grocery store, the story could not have happened. Without this setting (or one very, very much like it), the scantily clad girls could not have come in and wandered down the aisles causing the hero and other clerks to salivate over them while they discussed food purchases. In addition, the teen age hero could not have been distracted from his work with thoughts of chivalry. Moreover, the manager could not have had occasion to reprimand the girls for their attire and request they vacate the premises.
Furthermore, if the manager had not done this, there would have been no occasion for our slightly confused hero to enact his wild imaginings (which fall flat around his properly clad feet in the parking lot) by symbolically removing his attire (his clerk's apron) and quitting his job to champion the rights of the girls who walk away leaving him in cold oblivion in an unpopulated parking lot. The setting is the backbone of John Updike's pathetic tale of a pathetically illusioned youth.
Posted by kplhardison on February 12, 2010 at 5:59 AM (Answer #1)
Middle School Teacher
In John Updike's short story "A&P" the boy works in an A&P store. The setting is a grocery store in the 1950's. It is in a small town and the boy works a mundane job as a cashier. He sees the same thing day after day. The same isles. The same colors. the same keys on the cash register. However, for the boy the store seems almost devoid of color.
The girls come in totally different than the expected norm. They are cheerful and vibrant. They are the opposite of the store and shift the mood of the boy. The setting is important because the boy is able to see that the girls mean excitement and something better than the store where everything always seems to be the same.
Posted by mkcapen1 on February 12, 2010 at 5:48 AM (Answer #2)
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