A&P

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Bathing Suits Symbol Analysis

Bathing Suits Symbol Icon
The story revolves around the disruption the girls cause by walking into A&P in only their bathing suits. The bathing suits, in contrast to the regular attire of the housewives and other "sheep" who enter the store, draw attention to the girls' sexuality, which Sammy immediately takes note of. As the other employees and customers react to the girls, however, their bathing suits begin to symbolize a sort of freedom to Sammy, who finds it exciting that the girls flout the norms of social conduct. When Lengel reprimands the girls and accuses them of indecency, the bathing suits take on a different tint, akin more to sexual shame or, more accurately, sexual shaming.
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Bathing Suits Symbol Timeline in A&P

The timeline below shows where the symbol Bathing Suits appears in A&P. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
A&P
Sex, Gender, Power Theme Icon
Appearances and Inner Lives Theme Icon
Three girls in bathing suit s walk into the local A&P grocery store as Sammy, the nineteen-year-old narrator, rings up... (full context)
Sex, Gender, Power Theme Icon
Appearances and Inner Lives Theme Icon
Individualism and Ethics Theme Icon
...an aisle, and he describes each of them. There's the girl in green plaid, whose bathing suit looks new, and another girl with frizzed hair, a sunburn, and a long chin, who... (full context)
Sex, Gender, Power Theme Icon
Individualism and Ethics Theme Icon
Sammy continues to describe the leader, who wears a "dirty-pink" bathing suit with the straps down. The straps loop loosely around the tops of her arms, causing... (full context)
Sex, Gender, Power Theme Icon
Appearances and Inner Lives Theme Icon
Individualism and Ethics Theme Icon
...in pin-curlers" glance back at the girls disapprovingly, however. As Sammy explains, seeing girls wearing bathing suit s on a beach is one thing, but seeing them in an A&P grocery store... (full context)