Consequences In John Updike's A & P

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Consequences To The Wind In “A&P”, a short story by John Updike we meet Sammy, an eighteen-year-old who lives and works in a small conservative Massachusetts town. Sammy is the main character in the coming of age story about innocence, maturity and standing up against social injustices. He works in the local grocery store, the A&P, which is managed by the conservative Sunday school teacher, Lengel. Sammy has a keen observational sense and is a typical teenage boy with an interest in the opposite sex. His interest in girls and finding his voice to stand up against social injustices collide on a hot summer day while working the register. Sammy was young and innocent; he gained maturity and wisdom. On a hot summer Thursday afternoon, Sammy …show more content…

The other shoppers, which Sammy called “sheep” reacted with shock and would “kind of jerk, or hop, or hiccup” as the girls walked by but did not say a word. The girls have just chosen Sammy’s line for their purchase when the store manager, Lengel, a conservative Sunday school teacher, walks in. Lengel does not hold his tongue, but instead admonishes the girls for not covering up before coming in the grocery store. Queenie became embarrassed and attempted to explain she is on a quick errand to pick up hearing snacks for her mother but Lengel would hear none of it. Queenie and Lengel battered back and forth about being dressed appropriately until Lengel ended the spat with the dress code speech. By this time, the other shoppers have piled up at Stokesie’s register to watch the spectacle. Trying to diffuse the situation Lengel ask if Sammy has rung up the girls. Sammy is so upset with how Lengel made the girls feel that right after he rung up Queenie’s jarred herring snacks, he quit his job right then and there. He took a stand and told his manager that there was no need to embarrass the girls as he did. Lengel replied with a warning that Sammy would “feel this the rest of his life” if he quit. Sammy felt that was true, but his urge to stand up for what he believed was right was stronger than the possible consequences he faced for quitting his

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