I am having trouble figuring out how aspects of place and time contribute to the theme of A & P by John Updike. A & P John Updike

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Jason Lulos eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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It doesn’t say when it is set. But, the story was published in 1961 and given the context and atmosphere of the story, and the A & P, it’s safe to say the story is set in the 1950s or early 1960s. The setting is a town north of Boston. But I can see how it could be generally interpreted as any suburban town in 1950s America.

You might say that conformity is as prominent today as it was then. You might be right. But these days, conformity is overtly challenged. In the 1950s, conformity and conservative social values were advocated more blatantly. This is in stark contrast to the revolutionary decade that would follow. This was the height of that idealized American Dream, complete with a nuclear family and a white picket fence around a suburban house. Speaking of conformity, suburban housing plans were designed with similar housing units. To some extent, this is still true today.

This was...

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