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Analyzing Literature: A & P

            Literature is the combination of a speaker, setting, characterization, conflict, and symbols that go along with the rest. John Updike’s, A & P like other good literature, includes all of these and puts the image he wants you to see into your head. He needs to pay close attention to every aspect of the story so that he does not leave out any of the earlier mentioned. Every part of writing is critical in obtaining the exact message that needs to be conveyed.
             The speaker tells a lot about the story and what is going on, but has the tendency to be one sided depending on what the situation is. In the case of A & P, Updike uses a 19 year old boy working a cash register in a grocery store. This would not seem out of place, but Updike’s use in a young man to narrate the story allows the other characters to take their places and the story to be told. There are three girls in bathing suits that walk into the store to pick up a few things. Now, the boy being the narrator probably thinks differently about the barely clothed girls over a middle aged woman.
             The setting also plays an important factor in what the story has to say. The differences in time and generation have different views on every situation. Just as rap is now considered iffy by many people, so was rock back 50 years ago by the older generations. This story takes place in the 1960s which we know was a stricter period involving the dress of women in public. If we look at these factors we can see that the story would be stirred up at the end with something involving these girls and the way in which they were dressed.
             The stories characterization gives the reader an idea on who the character is and what he might end up doing in the latter parts of the story. The writers of any story try to make the characters have their own attributes and peculiarities, so that each brings the story closer to its meaning. The protagonist in this story is Sammy, also the narrator, a boy of about 19.