What would a Marxist critic say the theme of A&P by John Updike is?
Discussions of John Updike's short story "A & P" often center on the coming-of-age theme as it plays out in Sammy's reaction to three girls in bikinis who walk into the A & P and his struggle with the store's manager, Lengel, over their treatment. Your interesting question shifts the focus from the coming-of-age theme to a Marxist reading of the power struggle between Sammy, a teenager on the cusp of adulthood, and Lengel, the unsympathetic, autocratic, and self-righteous manager of the A & P.
Because Marxist critics take their guidance from Karl Marx and his theories of the economic, political, and social repression of the working class by the middle and upper classes, a Marxist reading of "A & P" would most likely focus on two elements within the story: 1) the implicit and explicit repression of Sammy and the girls by Lengel and the authority he represents (including Sammy's parents) and 2) Sammy's own assumptions about class and power with respect to the leader of the three girls,...
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