Analysis Of ' A & P ' By John Updike Essay

1198 Words Oct 27th, 2016 5 Pages
A Lone Battle
In "A&P" by John Updike, Lengel fights a losing battle against social changes. The character is shown to be hard-working, rational, and wise, but he remains unheeded by the next generation. The diminishing Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company foreshadows how American culture will change in Lengel 's town. He has already been fighting a rigorous battle with his branch of the company when the girls threaten his fragile business while it is at its weakest. They could scare off loyal customers with their nontraditional actions and ideals. In the fallout after his fight with the girls, he is gradually deserted by his fellow employees who have accepted their ideals. To realize Lengel 's motive for this battle, we must first understand how his business is performing at the time the story takes place.
In 1961, the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company had been having a hard time facing off with other grocers for a decade. This was eventuated from the death of John Hartford; the hardworking employee who had risen through the ranks to become president of the company and grew the franchise to where it was at the start of "A&P" (the story). His successor, Ralph Burger, was unable to grow at the same rate as the competition or cope with social changes which lead to a downward spiral. The company 's stocks are still climbing just not as high as the other grocery store chains, but a shrewd businessman would know that it is only a matter of time before the stocks…

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