The symbol of Bathing Suits in A&P from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes


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.

Bathing Suits Quotes in A&P

The A&P quotes below all refer to the symbol of Bathing Suits. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Growing Up Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Fawcett Columbine edition of A&P published in 1996.
A&P Quotes

"Girls, I don't want to argue with you. After this come in here with your shoulders covered. It's our policy."

Related Characters: Lengel (speaker), Queenie
Related Symbols: Bathing Suits
Page Number: 194
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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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.
Sex, Gender, Power Theme Icon
Appearances and Inner Lives Theme Icon
Three girls in bathing suits walk into the local A&P grocery store as Sammy, the nineteen-year-old narrator, rings up the... (full context)
Sex, Gender, Power Theme Icon
Appearances and Inner Lives Theme Icon
Individualism and Ethics Theme Icon 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 pin-curlers" glance back at the girls disapprovingly, however. As Sammy explains, seeing girls wearing bathing suits on a beach is one thing, but seeing them in an A&P grocery store is... (full context)