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The story “A&P” by John Updike

The story “A & P” by John Updike is a tale of a young man who lets his desires and his anger get a little to far ahead of him and in the end winds up quitting his job. The main character of the story is Sammy. An eighteen year old boy from a small suburb outside Boston who works at an A & P Supermarket. Sammy seems like an average boy who seems a tad bit tired of the regular customers who come into his store.

Regular customers including those older married women with multiple kids, the overweight lady who has no regrets wearing her bathing suit that doesnt quite cover, and the nit picking old adies who spend years trying to catch an error by a cashier. Its the last ditch effort to make an impression on a beautiful young lady that ends up leaving Sammy unemployed. The story starts out in an A & P outside of Boston when in through the door walks three young lady sporting nothing except for revealing two piece bathing suits.

Quickly noticed by Sammy, he changes his focus towards the three girls and critiques them in his head as he watches them shop about the store. Its the leader of the pack, which Sammy coins the nickname Queenie, that really catches his eye. A tall brown haired girl whose shoulder straps had fallen off of her shoulders and just dangled around her arms. Entranced by her beauty and feeling blessed when Queenie and her pack enter Sammys line, he begins to ring up her can of fancy herring snacks.

As Queenie reaches into the center of her bikini to remove the dollar to pay for the snack in walks Lengel. Lengel, Sammys uptight dreary manager quickly notices the outfits of the three girls which sticks out like a full moon on a clear night begins to walk over and confront Queenie. Lengel proceeds to harass nd embarrass Queenie and her friends about their attire. Sammy was quick to ring up the purchase and hand Queenie a bag with her food in it.

Now was the time Sammy was to make his move, whether it be his hope just to catch the attention of such a thing of beauty or maybe it was his anger toward Lengel for ruing this beautiful moment that cashiers dream about . Not surprised at the girls attempt to speed out the store, Sammy quickly hollered out ” I quit”. The girls had heard him, but thats it, they continued to walk across the parking lot, it was just Sammy and Lengel now. Realizing what he had done, and still hoping by that some slim miracle the girls would turn around and crown him their hero.

It wasnt gonna happen and Sammy knew he could now go back now and that his decision, as wrong it may have been was final. The story “A & P” by John Updike is a tale of a young man who lets his desires and his anger get a little to far ahead of him and in the end winds up quitting his job. The main character of the story is Sammy. An eighteen year old boy from a small suburb outside Boston who works at an A & P Supermarket. Sammy seems like an average boy who seems a tad bit tired of the regular customers who come into his store.

Regular customers including those older married women with multiple kids, the overweight lady who has no regrets wearing her bathing suit that doesnt quite cover, and the nit picking old ladies who spend years trying to catch an error by a cashier. Its the last ditch effort to make an impression on a beautiful young lady that ends up leaving Sammy unemployed. The story starts out in an A & P outside of Boston when in through the door walks three young lady sporting nothing except for revealing wo piece bathing suits.

Quickly noticed by Sammy, he changes his focus towards the three girls and critiques them in his head as he watches them shop about the store. Its the leader of the pack, which Sammy coins the nickname Queenie, that really catches his eye. A tall brown haired girl whose shoulder straps had fallen off of her shoulders and just dangled around her arms. Entranced by her beauty and feeling blessed when Queenie and her pack enter Sammys line, he begins to ring up her can of fancy herring snacks. As Queenie reaches into the enter of her bikini to remove the dollar to pay for the snack in walks Lengel.

Lengel, Sammys uptight dreary manager quickly notices the outfits of the three girls which sticks out like a full moon on a clear night begins to walk over and confront Queenie. Lengel proceeds to harass and embarrass Queenie and her friends about their attire. Sammy was quick to ring up the purchase and hand Queenie a bag with her food in it. Now was the time Sammy was to make his move, whether it be his hope just to catch the attention of such a thing of beauty or aybe it was his anger toward Lengel for ruing this beautiful moment that cashiers dream about .

Not surprised at the girls attempt to speed out the store, Sammy quickly hollered out ” I quit”. The girls had heard him, but thats it, they continued to walk across the parking lot, it was just Sammy and Lengel now. Realizing what he had done, and still hoping by that some slim miracle the girls would turn around and crown him their hero. It wasnt gonna happen and Sammy knew he could now go back now and that his decision, as wrong it may have been was final.

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Home » John Updike » The story “A&P” by John Updike

The story “A&P,” by John Updike

In the story “A&P,” by John Updike, the main character Sammy makes the leap from an adolescent, knowing little more about life than what he has learned working at the local grocery store, into a man prepared for the rough road that lies ahead. As the story begins, Sammy is nineteen and has no real grasp for the fact that he is about to be living on his own working to support himself. Throughout the course of the story, he changes with a definite step into, first, a young man realizing that he must get out of the hole he is in and further into a man, who has a grasp on reality looking forward to starting his own family.

In the beginning, Sammy is but a youth growing up learning what he knows about life in small town grocery store. His role models include, Stokesie, the twenty-two year-old, supporting a family doing the same job Sammy does yet aspiring to one day have the managers position, and Lengel, the store manager who most certainly started out in the same place that Stokesie and he were already in. Stoksie, the great role model, continues to be as adolescent as Sammy, with his “Oh, Daddy, I feel so faint,” and even Sammy sees his noting that “as far as I can tell thats the only difference (between he and I).

Sammy whittles away his days looking at pretty girls and thinking about the ways of people. He hardly realizes that this is how he will spend his entire existence if he doesnt soon get out of this job. During this day that will prove to change his life, he makes the step towards his realization. He decides that he doesnt want to spend the rest of his life working at an A&P competing for the store managers position. Sammy thinks to himself about his parents current social class and what they serve at cocktail parties.

And, in turn, he thinks about what he will be serving, if he stays at the A&P, “When my parents have somebody over they get lemonade and if its a real racy affair Schlitz in tall glasses with Theyll Do It Every Time cartoons stenciled on. ” He must get out and the sooner the better. He is still just an adolescent who hasnt completely thought through his decision and yet his mind is made up. He quits his job using the girls merely as an excuse to get out. His final journey to manhood is a short one.

He looks around for his girls and notices that they have already left, but he knew that was a futile cause to begin with. And he steps outside to see the world and its opportunities as well as its responsibilities in front of him. Although, Sammy could see “how hard the world would be hereafter,” he knew that what was done had to be done. In hindsight, Sammy still knew he had done the right thing as shown by “Now here comes the sad part of the storybut I dont think its so sad myself. “

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