Queenie in Updike's "A&P"Sagetrieb and I were just responding to a query on the Q&A boards about this, one of my favorite short stories. A post the other day here about writing "A...
Sagetrieb and I were just responding to a query on the Q&A boards about this, one of my favorite short stories.
A post the other day here about writing "A Rose for Emily" from Homer's pov made me think about writing "A&P" from Queenie's. Wouldn't that be fun?? I can imagine how her life is so far from what Sammy thinks it to be. There could be tensions created btwn Queenie and her girlfriends, being "objectified," etc.
What else do can you all think of? (I am curbing my Southern y'all's for the sake of literary dignity!)
Actually, Jamie, I used that as a point of view exercise years ago when I taught that as a writing genre: rewrite A and P from the pov of any other character. Most of the students of course chose that of Queenie, finding that rich for imagination. Many imagined she felt very self conscious and defensive: after all, my mom just told me to come here for the darn herrings. Others considered her wanting to "strut her stuff" and taking enormous delight in Sammy and the others ogling them. I think I remember one student imagining her putting on lip gloss and brushing her hair "just so" before she walked in to assure the desired effect.
If you remember the song "Itsy Bitsy Teeny-Weeny Bikini," the girl is afraid to come out of the water because she has such a tiny suit on. The question, then, is why has she even dared to wear this bikini? But, Queenie, who protests about being sent by her mother is not the same; she allows her strap to fall from her shoulder, and exhibits other provocative moves.
Perhaps, then, she is the "Little Town Flirt," to employ another old song title--an exhibitionist, perhaps. Would Sammy see her again?
This would be an excellent exercise. Thanks for the idea! I have used re-writes from differet points of view when teaching narration, but I normally use fairy tales, which itself has proven to be incredibly rewarding in terms of what students come up with. I guess one of the advantages of choosing to re-write this story from Queenie's perspective would be precisely that we know so little about her, making her a blank canvas for the discerning writer.
I don't think there's much to be said about Queenies character. I would think that she would lack any type of a story. As you mentioned she was instructed to go to the store and pick up some stuff for her mother. I can imagine the story now.
"Today I went to a store, I had trouble finding what my mother asked me to get... When I went to checkout I was told not to come back in a bathing suit. Some guy quit his job, but I didn't care..."
The real question is what is the mother doing that prevented her from doing this herself, or coming in with her daughter? Sounds like a lazy parent if you ask me.