Examples Of Individuality In A & P

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Throughout the short story, Sammy displays his disdain towards societal norms and those who conform and upkeep it. The usual customers who enter the A & P, for example, are the type of people that Sammy berates for their lack individuality. He finds them all to be identical, lacking any real original thoughts of their own. His comparisons between the shoppers and “sheep” (33) and “pigs” (36) shows how Sammy believes them to be nothing more than a herd of mindless animals who just unthinkingly follow the same routine day in and day out. Sammy comments to himself, “I bet you could set off dynamite in an A & P and the people would by and large keep reaching and checking oatmeal off their lists and muttering…” (33) This constant ridicule of the …show more content…

Queenie’s vastly different persona from the other customers inspires Sammy. Her individuality and disregard of conservative values not only shines through her attire, but also how she and her friends, “…were walking against the usual traffic…” (33) This displays how Queenie goes against society’s intended path that most individuals follow and she creates her own. While observing Queenie, Sammy is not only attracted to her physically, but also to what she represents. Queenie symbolizes the prospect of a life he has only dreamed of. A life that Sammy gains insight into once Queenie mentions “a jar of herring snacks.” (35) He concocts a scenerio within Queenie’s household where, “Her father and the other men were standing around in ice-cream coats and bow ties and the women were in sandals picking up herring snacks on toothpicks…” (35) Sammy depicts Queenie and her family as being well-off, which starkly contrasts to his family’s middle class lifestyle. Sammy aspires for this lifestyle as he finds it to be exciting and …show more content…

Lengel. Mr. Lengel exemplifies the more traditional and conventional way of doing things. Sammy describes him as, “… pretty dreary, teaches Sunday school and the rest, but he doesn't miss that much.” (35) Mr. Lengel, of course, disapproves of Queenie and her indecent friends and reprimands them. Sammy interprets this action as if Mr. Lengel was criticizing his ideal future more so than the actual girls. This causes Sammy to finally gather the courage to take a stand against Mr. Lengel and essentially society itself. When Sammy confronts his boss about embarassing the girls, Mr. Lengel retorts with, “It was them who were embarrassing us.” (36) The “us” Mr. Lengel is referring to is the whole town and its values. Sammy differing opinion over who was embarassing who demonstrates that Sammy is no longer conforming to the town’s standards and has thus taken the first step towards becoming his own individual. This rebellion against Mr. Lengel represents Sammy turning his back on the life society dictated for him and the old-fashioned ideals that his town and the citizens within it

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