Why is the title of this short story “A & P”?


A&P by John Updike

Answer the following questions.  Each question should have at least a 75-word response.  The first response is due by Wednesday at 11:59 pm EST.

1. Why is the title of this short story “A & P”? Would another title have worked just as well or is this one somehow appropriate to the story? (Setting) What role does the grocery store itself play in the story?

2. (Setting) What era would you place the setting of this story? Does the text indicate any reference to dates? Discuss Sammy’s description of the year 1990.

3. Discuss the way the language sounds in this story. For example, is it formal or informal? Write down as many of the slang words that you can identify. What slang words do you think Sammy would use if the A&P grocery store were located in Saint Leo, Florida and the story was written in 2020?

4. Talk about the fashions that the narrator describes in “A&P.” Be ready to read back to the class any particular lines that describe the clothing. What do you think that Sammy would consider a “formal” and “informal” style of dress?

5. Discuss the element of “hypocrisy” in the story. For example, Sammy wonders why it seems okay for the townspeople to see people in their swimsuits at the beach but not at the market. What other examples of hypocrisy can you identify in the story? Is there anything about Sammy that comes across as hypocritical?

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