Paper #3 - Three Interpretations of Updike's "A&P"...

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Gabrielle Daniel Sec 039 11/9/06 Dr. C. Salerno
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John Updike’s has become a well known story among college students across the country. His story about main character Sammy is filled with many ambiguous parts that leave sufficient opportunity for the reader to make their own conclusions about Sammy’s character in multiple situations. His story also exhibits many themes about the prevalence of policy in society, coming of age, the generation gap, sex/sexism, and adolescence. From reviewing the three articles, Irony and Innocence, by Lawrence Dessner, P” by Toni Saldivar, and An Essay on “A&P” by Robert Peltier, all three authors clearly have different approaches and focuses in their interpretation of the Updike’s “ ”. However, two authors share similar views on how the story was intended to be read. They also share views on ambiguities surrounding Sammy’s unemployment and his final thought at the end of the story. Robert Peltier’s interpretive article An Essay on “A&P” discusses Updike’s main theme of the generation gap and themes of less significance such as coming of age, policy in society, and his intention to warn adults in the 1960s about the boiling rebellion of upcoming generation,. Within Peltier’s article, Peltier refers to Sammy by saying “. ..we can see this culture, informed by the social and current times, is an early harbinger of the youthful rebellion. ..” implying that the purpose of Sammy’s generation will rebel against old tradition (Peltier 2). While Toni Saldivar’s article, The Art of Updike’s A&P is written about Updike’s purpose for using an artistic framework for constructing a story; mean while showing how read P as an artist leaves no room for ambiguity. When explaining Updike’s intention, Saldivar emphasizes Updike’s ingenious reiteration of Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” and states that he “. ..hopes to show- that Updike offers the reader a way to see Sammy’s narrative, as an- artistic gesture” and “…Updike’s use of allusions of art
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to construct significance within the story” (Saldivar 1-2). In contrast, Dessner’s essay is mainly focused on Updike’s use of the story to imply that the youth of his generation are fools. His essay written from the perspective of a judgmental parent, emphasizing one central theme focused on naivety. Dessner goes to prove that Sammy’s irony of overrating the underrated and adversely underrating what should be overrated as way to provide proof of how naive the character and people his age are. These three authors, Robert Peltier, Lawrence J. Dessner, and Toni Saldivar,
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This note was uploaded on 03/20/2008 for the course EN 101 taught by Professor Salerno during the Fall '06 term at N.C. State.

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Paper #3 - Three Interpretations of Updike's "A&P"...

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