What symbols and instances of irony can be found in the story "A & P" by John Updike?

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The dramatic irony of Updike's story comes at the end: Sammy's grand gesture of defiance by quitting his job to protest Lengel's judgment of the girls falls short of any real resonance. The girls don't notice, and perhaps all that Sammy has accomplished is achieving unemployment. Lengel's admonition to the girls, "We want you decently dressed when you come in here," is not arguably not overly harsh or over-the-top, but perhaps Sammy's response to it is.

Updike employs symbolism in creating a scene that captures the zeitgeist of early 1960s suburbia and the generation gap. In the opening scene, when Sammy is distracted by the girls in bathing suits, he mistakenly rings up the customer's HiHo crackers a second time. Sammy characterizes her reaction as "giving me hell," which symbolizes the conflict between teens and adults. The appearance in the store of the girls and their bathing suits—especially Queenie's, with the straps pushed down—is another symbolic act that demonstrates the...

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