John Updike's "A&P" Critical Essay

Essay by tjryuCollege, UndergraduateB+, February 2007

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In the short storyJohn Updike's "A&P," the readers can conclude that the narrator has a negative attitude toward his job and the people there. The narrator's character uses many negative terms toward the people and the store, which help define his character. Throughout the story the reader will realize that the narrator despises working at the grocery store and views the female in the story as objects not people.

Through out the story the narrator refers to the aisles as "records at discount" which the narrator refers to as junk. There are also "plastic toys" that according to the narrator fall apart when a kid looks at them. His pessimism towards the items in the store implies that the narrator dislikes his job.

The narrator also articulates his disapproval toward the people in the store. Towards the beginning of the story, the narrator refers to his coworker McMahon over at the meat counter as a perverted older man.

Accusing him of drooling over the young girls passing through the store. The narrator implies that McMahon views the three young girls as pieces of meat. The sad part is that the narrator fails to realize that he is no better than McMahon because he also is staring at the young girls. His negative attitude is shown where the narrator judges McMahon of committing the same act. His attitude towards the girl is also exposed in this scenario when he says the girls couldn't help being stared at. I believe the narrator feels the girls are too naïve in a sense, to realize that it is because of the way they are dressed that all the guys are staring at them.

The reader also gets an idea of how the narrator labels females as he expresses his feelings for them...