A&P Topics for Discussion
by John Updike

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Topics for Discussion

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. If three girls in bathing suits walked into your local supermarket, what do you think the reaction would be today? Has society's attitude towards such issues as dress changed or remained essentially the same in the past forty years?

2. Consider the events in the story from the girls' point of view. Why do you think they went to the grocery store in their swimsuits?

3. If you were to make this story into a film that takes place today, what song would you have playing over the store's speakers? Think of the themes involved in both the story and the song as you make your decision.

4. At the end of the story, Sammy says "I felt how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter." Do you agree? Why or why not?

5. Try to put yourself in Sammy's place. Would you have defended the girls' behavior? Would their humiliation be worth losing your job?

6. Originally Updike continued the story with Sammy looking for the girls at the beach. In your view, what happens next in the story?