Shopping for One

This study guide will help you analyse the text “Shopping for One” by Anne Cassidy. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on the summary, structure, characters, setting, narrator and point of view, language, theme and message.

Presentation of the text

Title: “Shopping for One”
Author: Anne Cassidy
Date of Publication: 1984
Genre: Short Story

Anne Cassidy (1952-) is a British writer of novels and short stories. She mostly writes thrillers and crime novels involving teenagers or adults. She also received the Angus Book Award for her literary works.


Below, you can read an excerpt from our study guide: 


Some of the elements used in the short story go beyond their literal meaning and have a symbolic function.

First of all, the title is symbolic because it is employed as a metaphor for loneliness in the modern world.

Then, at a general level, the shopping baskets become symbolic of the persons’ relationship status. The larger the amount of purchases means the bigger the family.

More specifically, Jean’s yoghurt becomes a symbol of herself, a single woman-shopping among couples: “Hemmed in between family-size cartons of cornflakes and giant packets of washing-powder, her individual yoghurt seemed to say it all.”

Also, the supermarket itself is a symbol of consumerism but also of social pressures, making single people feel like they are inadequate. This is why Jean feels relieved to be out of it.

Additionally, the salad cream and the cooking book become symbolic of Jean’s reluctance to accept her single status in front of others. 

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Shopping for One

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