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John Updike's A&P

             Innocence is a quality that is often taken for granted and abused. We never know when we lose it and it is seemingly gone forever. We are ignorant of our innocence until we realize that it has left us. Innocence is not ignorance; however it lacks knowledge in the same manner. It is based more on naivety or rather, the lack of experience we have. In John Updike's "A&P" the innocent of a local grocery store break through their blindness and daily routines in order to shed some light onto part of reality that they have been missing. This loss of innocence, and realization of such a loss, is John Updike's central theme in "A&P". .
             "A&P" starts with three girls walking into a grocery store wearing only bathing suits and immediately catching the eye of a young, nineteen year old named Sammy. The girls and Sammy are innocent yet in different ways. The girls seemed to be different to Sammy as they looked and acted as though they did not live in his town. The girls were ignorant of Sammy's local culture as they seemingly had spent the day at the beach, and had not lived in his town nor spent much time in it at all. .
             "The one that caught my eye first was the one in the plaid green two pieces. 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"(27). John Updike has Sammy describe these girls in such great detail in order to point out there untouched nature. These girls did not wear any make up, and they barely had any clothes on at all. They had nothing to hide themselves from those who chose to judge them in this local everyday grocery store. With this description Sammy shows how these girls were able to upset the permance of the store by not conforming to dress code of the store. .
             But how can one be guilty of something if they don't know what they have done wrong? This is one of Updike's main points. The girls are innocent because they do not know about any dress code, therefore they don't even think twice about walking in the store with bathing suits on.

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