Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate April 2001

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Reality In John Updike's short story "A&P," the narrator struggles to be a part of a fantasy world before being abruptly forced back into his reality world. The three girls that enter the store cause the narrator to fantasize of a life other than what he is accustom to. The narrator imagines living their kind of life, which includes wealth and confidence, only to be constantly reminded of his actual life by the people around him. In the end, after quitting his job in an attempt to be a hero, the narrator ends up back in the undesirable life to which he belongs.

As the three girls enter the store, the narrator is immediately introduced to a world different than the one he is in. In the first sentence of his story, the narrator says "In walks three girls in nothing but bathing suits." By using the words "nothing but bathing suits," the narrator is putting emphasis on the fact that the girls are naked underneath their bathing suits. It also sounds like the narrator is not used to seeing people wearing only bathing suits in the grocery store. The narrator says, "The one that caught my eye first was the one in the plaid green two-piece." Once again, the author is making a point to mention the bathing suits. "She was a chunky kid, with a good tan and a sweet broad soft looking can with those two crescents of white just under it, where the sun never seems to hit, at the top of the back of her legs." The narrator is really looking the girl over. He notices the areas of white on the back of her legs. The average person probably wouldn't notice those types of small details right away. He...