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Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Rewrite the first paragraph of this story in the third person. Why do you think Updike wrote it in the first person?

2. Compare and contrast Sammy's epiphany in "A & P" with that experienced by the protagonist in "Araby" by James Joyce.

3. Describe some similarities between Sammy and Holden Caulfield, the protagonist of J. D. Salinger's controversial coming-of-age story, The Catcher in the Rye.

4. Identify which symbols you consider richest in adding meaning to the events in the story. Why?

5. Discuss the impact of the events in the story on the characters other than Sammy.

6. Research teenage life of the late 1950s and early 1960s and compare that with life today. Consider such aspects as education, employment and marriage prospects, family and parental relationships, peer pressure, unsupervised leisure activities, and consumer buying power. Relate what you find to the characters in "A & P."