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Why do some readers find the story "A & P" offensively sexist?

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donquan | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 21, 2007 at 6:13 AM via web

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Why do some readers find the story "A & P" offensively sexist?

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cmcqueeney | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted September 21, 2007 at 6:34 AM (Answer #1)

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This story can be viewed as sexist as a result of the narrator's descriptions.  The narrator is a teenage boy who filters everything through the mind of a teenage boy.  The three girls that he sees are objects which he describes openly and honestly as he views them.  His description focuses much on their bodies and is rarely flattering.  In addition, the other women shoppers in the store he describes in very negative terms calling one a witch and comparing some to animals.

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khenson | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted September 21, 2007 at 7:47 AM (Answer #2)

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The young narrator does not view the females surrounding him in the grocery as equals.  "Queenie" is simply an object to lust after.  He objectifies each female mentioned within the text.

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tvillaverde | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted September 23, 2007 at 8:06 AM (Answer #3)

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From a feminist stand point, the young girls in A&P are objectified by the men in the store.   The narrator looks at them as in need of protection.  He bases this opinion on what they wear rather than who they are.  The story is told through a limited point of view, so the reader is not aware of the thoughts and beliefs of the young girls.  The reader can only see and hear what they say, thus relying on the unreliable point of view of the narrator. 

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