Conformity And Rebellion In A & P By John Updike

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“A&P” by John Updike was written in 1961. This story was based on the time period after World War II. During this time, society was consumed with manufacturing, production and products. People were conforming to the central idea of what a proper behavior is supposed to be. All while the next generation was beginning to rebel against this schema. “A&P” takes place in a grocery store located in a town outside of Boston. Updike’s middle-class memories inspired many of the scenes in “A&P”
John Updike, born in 1932 has written many forms of literature including “novels, short stories, essays, plays and children’s tales” (Kirszner and Mandell 141). At first, Updike had not pictured himself being a writer; he desired to be a cartoonist for the Harvard
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For the new generation, being constantly told what to do and how to do it is frustrating. To be told to conform to a specific idea and not allowed to express your own opinion is, even more, aggravating. Sammy does not want to be like everyone else and doesn’t want to live the life similar to Stolesie. Besides the conflict of conformity and rebellion. I believe Sammy is dealing with an internal conflict. Almost all teenagers have an internal conflict during this period of their life. They are confused where their life is going, what they want to do and who they want to be. They look to others for an example and hints. They are also in a constant battle of trying to find love and comfort. No one wants to live a life of solitude, and the teenage years are the perfect time to start building the foundations of relationships. According to the Maslow hierarchy of need, the need to belong is the third most important need in life. Trying to find a place of belonging and love is often a battle everyone experiences and it begins during the teenage years. Sammy is battling with all these conflicts at once. Hearing a friend of his parents treat a lady (his crush) in a derogative manner breaks Sammy’s …show more content…
The one theme noticed was judgment. This is presented a few times in the story. The first sign of judgment came when the shoppers stopped to notice the girls and were appalled. Next was when Sammy made a judgment that the “queen” was from a wealthy family drinking fancy beverages. I think these judgments come from the different views. Another theme is being yourself. The whole story is about conformity and from what I noticed those who conform, live a boring and basic life. I think the theme/ message is if you want to live an eventful life then you shouldn’t conform to

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