A&P by John Updike Discussion Questions

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

'A & P' is a humorous short story by John Updike about social norms and dressing for the occasion. This asset contains classroom discussion questions about this story.

A & P

How do you dress when you go to the grocery story? Does it matter? Do you judge other people based on how they are dressed? These are some questions students may ponder as they read 'A & P' by John Updike. The questions in this asset will guide classroom discussions about this book.

Characters and Setting

The questions in this section will help students better understand the main characters and setting of this story.

  • Who is the narrator of this story? How might this story be different if another character narrated it? How reliable do you find this narrator? Justify your answer.
  • Why do you think the girls wear their bikinis in the store? What text evidence supports this conclusion?
  • How does the setting contribute to this story? How might this story be different if it happened in a different time and place?
  • The narrator assigns character traits to the girls based on their appearance and body language. Compare the narrator's description of Queenie and the tall girl. Do you think this is an accurate way to assess other people? Explain your response. How are appearances related to how people perceive each other?


This section contains questions about some of the various conflicts that occur between characters and within the narrator.

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