In the story “A&P”, Sammy is cashier at a grocery store. In the beginning Sammy is complaining how boring his job is. He complains how dull society is everyday and nothing that comes into the store is boring. Until three girls walk into the store wearing bathing suits. People just do not wear bathing suits in public places, so customers in the store were shocked by how the girls dressed.
Sammy, almost 19 years old, works as a cashier in the grocery chain A&P and possess a pair of keenly observation eyes. Induced by his young and rebellious mindset Sammy finds many faults with the world around him. He sees the world around him in a very bland light, from the women in the community being “women with six children and varicose veins” (Lawn 350) to the entire store being “like a pinball machine” (Lawn 351). But Sammy observations don’t stop at the social level, also describing the blandness of the store’s floor as a “checkboard green-and-cream rubber tile floor” (Lawn 350). However, Sammy is not alone.
The girls quickly walk out of the store, leaving Sammy to return his apron and bowtie. As he exits the store, he sees that the girls are already gone, leaving him as alone as he was when he still had his job. Within seconds he realizes the consequences he has to face now. “... my stomach kind of fell as I felt how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter” (Updike, 19.) At the beginning of the story, Sammy was a 19-year old with a stable job and no girlfriend.
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
Sammy reaches his epiphany when he stands up to his boss and quits, trying to prove a point that the girls are not the problem, he is. “But it seems to me that once you begin a gesture it’s fatal not to go through with it” (Updike 167). Here, Sammy expresses he does not want to go back on his word, he needs to stick to it to show his boss he is serious. Even when Sammy’s boss tries to dissuade him, Sammy does not show signs of backing off, signaling he has reached his epiphany. Likewise, Sylvia reaches her epiphany after she is reluctant to enter the expensive toy store.
Sammy worships one of these girls as “the queen”(1625), putting her on a pedestal high above everyone else. It is this idea however, that ultimately leads him to his act of heroism when he stands up to his boss and says “I quit”(1629). He is rebelling in response to his boss’s berating of the girls, angry on their behalf. Although, Sammy’s true character shows through when he is given the chance to back down when his boss asks him “Did you say something, Sammy?”(1629) and he refuses again saying “I said I quit”(1629) unnecessary? even though the girls have already left.
It is, therefore, true to say that Sammy's rebellion in the John Updike's A & P is more futile than heroic and only makes negative complications in his life. Throughout the story, Sammy’s, the major character, rebellious actions have a negative effect on the customers, his boss, and himself. Sammy’s rebellious attitude can be seen from the beginning of the story to the end as he openly shows a negative attitude towards almost everybody, including the customers. In the beginning of the story, Sammy appears to be displeased with his job and looks for the slightest provocation to quit. He is resentful to the management at work and clients who come shopping in
The girls come in nothing but bathing suits and with no shoes. Sammy describes the regular customers he sees when he mentions “women generally put on a shirt or shorts or something before they get out of the car into the street. And anyway these are usually women with six children and varicose veins mapping their legs and nobody, including them, could care less” (Updike).Sammy is excited because not everyday you you get to experience customers like three girls. (2) Sammy leaving his job symbolizes his first step to independence and a life full of adventures. He quits because he will not work for Lengel whom criticizes the lifestyle he wishes to have.
Sam’s Personality Every person has a different personality that they portray to the people around them. In the short story, “The Gold Mountain Coat” by Judy Fong-Bates, we learn a lot about Sam Sing’s true character after a conversation with his son’s. We learn that Sam follows a very strict routine, is very anti-social, and that he lives in content. Throughout the passage Sam portrays a very clear and consistent personality up until the point when his sons come and speak to him. First of all Sam is routine person who has a routine that he sticks to.
In “A&P” by John Updike, the choice of Sammy as narrator in first person point of view helps communicate the message that he approves of the daring decision the girls made to go out in public wearing nothing, but their bathing suits. Therefore from the moment the girls step into the store, they capture Sammy’s attention, and he focuses on how they act. The girls draw Sammy’s attention because they are not phased by the reactions they are causing the other customers in A&P to have. While the girls are shopping Sammy tells us, “I watched them all the way… The sheep pushing their carts down the aisle — — the girls were walking against the usual traffic (not that we have one — way signs or anything) — — were pretty hilarious. You could see them, when