John Updike A & P Analysis

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Jon Updike’s story, A&P is about Sammy, a typical nineteen-year-old boy who works as a checkout clerk in the grocery store. On an average day on the job, Sammy makes the unexpected decision to quit. What led to his decision to walk away from his job? The story tells of three girls who come into the grocery store dressed only in bathing suits. They make their entrance into the store where Sammy carefully observes their every move. One of the reasons Sammy quits is he wants to impress the three scantily dressed girls. However, as the story continues there are more clues of why Sammy quits his job. A deep discontent has been building with Sammy long before the girls walk in the door. Sammy realizes how bored he is with his tedious job,…show more content…
It is apparent Sammy does not like his customers much, which could be other explanation for Sammy’s abrupt resignation. The woman who gives him a hard time for ringing up her purchase twice, for example, is described as “one of these cash-register-watchers, a witch of about fifty with rouge on her cheekbones and no eyebrows” (P1). After resolving this trivial mishap, he further describes this miserable character and her response “By the time I got her feathers smoothed and her goodies into a bag, she gives me a little snort in passing, if she’d have been born at the right time they would have burned her over in Salem” (p1). As Sammy watches the girls walk through the store, he is amused and delighted that the girls break up the orderly shopping of the customers who he refers to as “sheep” pushing their carts down the aisle. Sammy considers them like sheep, just following the flock, unthinkingly doing what everybody else does. His distaste with the customers continues throughout the story when Sammy refers to them as “houseslaves in pin curlers” (600). His references to the customers as sheep and houseslaves reveal his attitude of annoyance and dislike toward the people that keep him
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