A & P Essay

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McFarland is Professor of English at the University of Idaho. In the following essay, he discusses the reasons he sees for the enduring popularity of Updike's story and theorizes about the symbolism of the story's brand names.

During the twenty years since its appearance in Pigeon Feathers (1962), "A & P" has been established as John Updike's most widely read short story. Its popularity among anthologists, as recourse to the listings in Studies in Short Fiction demonstrates, has made the story standard reading for thousands of college and high school students It has appeared in over twenty anthologies since its inclusion in Douglas and Sylvia Angus's Contemporary American Short Stories in 1967. What accounts for the continuing popularity of this particular story9

The reviewers greeted Pigeon Feathers with that peculiar damnation-by-hyperbolic-praise which continues to plague Updike. Arthur Mizener began his page-one review in New York Times Book Review by hailing Updike...

(read more from the Critical Essay #4 section)

This section contains 2,194 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A & P Study Guide
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A & P from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.