John Updike's short story "A&P" is about a 19-year-old boy “Sammy” who is going through changes in his life, and has to make crucial decisions that are going to affect his job and his future in the long run. The story is set in an A&P grocery store, in a town north of Boston, and begins with Sammy’s description of the three girls that enter the store. Sammy decides to quit his job in order to impress the girl “Queenie.” Unfortunately, his gentlemanly act goes unnoticed by Queenie and her friends, and he has no choice but to face the consequences of his action. The author of the story clarifies that Sammy’s immaturity comes from his judgmental attitude, sexist beliefs, and disrespectful attitude.
In all good stories, there is a theme the author tries to convey. In John Updike’s short story, “A&P”, the author conveys the struggle of power through the significant use of the plot, setting and characters. The narrator, Sammy, begins the story when he notices three girls walk into the grocery store of a small town. The setting already poses a set for a struggle of power. At this point in the story, Sammy describes himself as above the “sheep” -- that is people shopping at the grocery store and even some of his co workers such as Stokesie or McMahon.
In the short story "A & P", John Updike explains how Sammy is a young man working as a cashier. One day three young ladies come into the supermarket half dressed wearing only their swimsuits. Sammy is intrigued by these young women, along with everyone else in the supermarket. Sammy watches their every move, as the girls made their selections. Sammy tries to play the hero at the end of the story; however he may have been his own worst enemy.
If someone walked into a market wearing weird or unusual clothing, would people give them weird looks? “A & P” by John Updike is a short story which features the protagonist, Sammy, a 19 year old male. While at his job, a cashier in a supermarket, he sees three girls wearing bikinis walk in. The story continues and shows how his obsession with the “leader” of the group, while also showing how his feelings change over time. Sammy’s original feelings of being shy changing to a more hero-like feel near the end of the story show how his change throughout the story.
The use of various and different archetypes such as the threshold guardian and the defiant anti-hero in “A&P” coveys John Updike’s changing perception of women and the values in today’s society. When the reader is first introduced to Sammy, they see him observing “three girls in nothing but bathing suits” and privately starts pointing out distinct physical features such as their “sweet broad soft-looking can” and how “the third one wasn’t so tall. She was the queen.” (Updike 1). Sammy is a very atypical person and doesn’t fall under society’s norm of a gentleman or one who shows any form of chivalry towards women..
Customs and convictions change; respectable people are the last to know, or to admit, the change, and the ones most offended by fresh reflections of the facts in the mirror of art (Updike). The story, A&P, is written by John Updike, it takes place in a grocery store named “A&P”. Three girls were judged based on what they wore. In the short story, the main characters are the girls, manager, and the teenage boy.
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.
In John Updike's “A&P” we see first hand the fragility of destiny, through a single particular moment in Sammy's life. Deciding to abandon the pale and bland pre-destined life of being a “sheep”(as often referred to by Sammy) Sammy dooms himself to a life of uncertainty and struggle. Updike beautifully illustrates to us first hand how a single split-second decision can forever change our lives, regardless of the reasons we had for making our decision.
Discuss one of the following regarding John Updike's "A&P": Characterization, Setting, Theme. Sammy is the narrator of this story. He is an opinionated teenager who describes people shopping at the store as “sheep”. He believes everyone acts the same.
In the short story, “A&P”, by John Updike, the central idea is that you are always being judged even when you think you aren’t. The author’s use of characterization helps reveal the central idea through the three girls. The three girls physical appearance were constantly being judged by society. Through Lengel’s actions and one of the girls be referred to as Queenie, the reader becomes aware of how judgmental society is toward females. In fact, Lengel goes on to say, “we want to decently dress when you come in here” (3).