Short story interpretation | ENG 242 short story interpretation

Can this be done by Saturday the 29th?

Minimum of 3 outside resources (Resources may include .edu or .org website and/or peer-reviewed journal articles from the TU library.)


Foster speaks a good deal about the young knight, sallying forth with his lance to slay the dragon and win the maiden – or to find the grail (an ancient symbol of female fertility in addition to being a highly valuable religious artifact). With John Updike’s “A&P,” we have a young shop-clerk who valiantly throws himself into the middle of a situation to “protect” three female teenage customers being criticized in the middle of his shift. I propose that Sammy is a knight. His battlefield is the A&P. His co-workers are fellow knights. The female customers are the maidens he seeks to rescue.

Activity Instructions

To what extent does Updike use notions of sex, romance, and sexual symbols to make this the day Sammy must stand up and defend not only the teenage girls’ honor, but his own? Consider the following sub-questions:

Does this set-up only work with a youthful narrator, or does it also have to do with Sammy’s wealth and the opportunities his life presents him? At the end of the day, to what extent is Sammy heroic?

In doing your analysis of Sammy, find another character from literature who has played a knight – that can be anything from King Arthur to Luke Skywalker. Compare Sammy’s actions to those of a chivalrous hero we know from literature or pop culture.

Writing Requirements (APA format)

3-4 pages (approx. 300 words per page), not including the reference page

1-inch margins

Double spaced

12-point Times New Roman font

Reference page (minimum of 3 resources)

Grading and Assessment

This activity will be graded based on academic content, integration of resources, and college-level writing and grammar.

Course Learning Outcome(s): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

1.   Gain an appreciation for short stories, their themes, and the social or political backdrops against which they were written.

2.   Improve interpretive and critical thinking skills through reading, discussion, and writing.

3.   Evaluate the works’ importance to readers on emotional, artistic, social, and literary levels.

4.   Research secondary, supporting sources for further opinions about the literature.

5.   Develop analytical essays with a clear thesis for a defined audience.

6.   Demonstrate competency in sophisticated sentence construction.

7.   Present organized and coherent analyses and show technical control of writing skills.

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