The Theme of Genuineness in John Updike’s Short Story “A&P”

Discuss the theme of genuineness in John Updike’s short story “A&P” and M. Gilbert Porter’s critical essay “John Updike’s ‘A&P’: The Establishment and an Emersonian Cashier.”

If “housewives apparently do not take sufficient pride in their appearance,” then they cannot be said to be vain. Vanity and narcissism are hallmarks of an empty shell of a person. Such a person, it can be argued, has no depth, no substance. Though older women may come across as “unlovely” for being unconcerned with mere appearances, they can be considered truer to themselves for rejecting society’s notions of beauty. Who is artificial? Who is more genuine?