A&P Questions and Answers
by John Updike

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What are some symbols and metaphors in "A&P" by John Updike?

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This short story definitely contains solid examples of symbolism in it. The clothing worn by characters is a good place to start. For the most part, I would assume that the standard clothing worn by most of Sammy's customers identifies them as boring housewives. The three young girls that walk in immediately stand out to Sammy because they are not wearing the standard A&P clothing. They are wearing the complete opposite: they are wearing swimsuits to a grocery store that is not exactly right next to the beach. The bathing suits are symbolic of their youth and energy. They are exciting and fresh for Sammy and Stokesie alike. The clothing as a symbol is especially important when analyzing Sammy. He is an employee, so he is dressed like one. He wears his apron to be identified as a member of the establishment. That is why it is such a big deal that he takes it off.

I pull the bow at the back of my apron and start shrugging it off my shoulders. A couple customers that had been heading for my...

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