Integrity In John Updike's A & P

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Do people dress to blend in or stand out? In the story A&P written by John Updike, three girls enter the store wearing nothing but bikinis. The cashier, Sammie, can’t stop letting his focus linger on these conspicuous girls. After the girls have been in the store for a while, and are getting ready to purchase their product, the manager comes in from dealing with a truck load of cabbages, and unfortunately he notices these girls standing there in beach wear. He confronts them, which causes them to become embarrassed, so they quickly purchase their product and leave. Sammie disapproved of how cruel the manager was to these girls, and he quit on the spot. This story is essentially a coming of age story; Sammy makes an immature decision that he believes is right. Unfortunately his act of manliness goes unnoticed by the group of girls, and he now has to face the consequences of what he has done. In the short story “A & P,” John Updike illustrates that Sammy’s immaturity results from his judgmental attitude, disrespectful personality, and sexist beliefs. To begin with, Updike presents Sammy as judgmental towards his customers and co-workers. First, he constantly refers to the shoppers as sheep. “The sheep pushing their carts down the aisle.” (Updike, 2) He is indicating that they are blindly following each other and that they are not smart. Next,…show more content…
He shows a lack of respect for his elders, discounting the experience and maturity of his friends. Also, his sexist beliefs show that he was focusing on the girls and their bodies, and also by giving demeaning nicknames to women. Sammy’s immaturity leads to him quitting his job, an impulsive action, which produces no affect whatsoever on the three young women who he thought needed his
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