Sticking to Your Principles John Updike’s best known story “A&P” is a tale of a young 19 year-old boy, name Sammy who works in a local supermarket, as a cashier. While Sammy is attempting to persuade his audience to fully understand why he impulsively quit his job one day, some may feel that he had absolutely no legit reason to quit. He narratively gives a very vivid description of everything that happens. There are a lot of critics with similar and opposing opinions. My opinion still stands; Sammy acts decisively when standing up for what he thinks is right. Standing up for what you believe in is an essential life skill. Some people, like author of the literary essay “Updike and the Critics: Reflections of “A&P”, Ronald McFarland, …show more content…
As a matter of fact, Sammy could have easily reneged on his word. He could have taken back what he said with Lengel’s questioning, “I don’t think you know what you are saying” (Updike 4). He pleaded with Sammy to reconsider his actions for the sake of his parents. Lengel blatantly mentions, “You don’t want to do this to you mom and dad” (Updike 5). Truth be told, Sammy did not want to upset his parents, nor did he wish to ruin the friendship they had with his manager. All he had in mind was a pretty girl he needed to save that day. In the literary essay, Irony and Innocence in John Updikes “A&P”, Lawrence Jay Dessner calls it the “inability to imagine himself personally at risk” Dessner seems to be titling Sammy as immortal. Immortality to me, is …show more content…
Toni Saldivar explains Sammy as having, “the power to be deeply moved by the presence of beautiful objects” (Saldivar 222). This could be true, being as Sammy may have not cared enough to quit his job if not for how” strikingly attractive” (Updike 1) she appeared. He wanted to impress her. Under those circumstances, he hoped that the girls would turn around to consent to what he was doing. As a result, run to him grateful for how he stood up for them. He quit his job wishing to be noticed by Queenie. Sammy protest his opinion of the matter to Lengel by stating,” You didn’t have to embarrass them” (Updike 4). Right then, the reader knew that Sammy felt a bit emotional concerning Queenie. He wanted to, in a sense, protect Queenie from the judgement of Lengel. The kind of protection only a “hero” can provide. Sammy is said to be, “a romantic who becomes a modernist” (Saldivar 224). To him, Queenie was the most beautiful girl he had seen. Nothing in this present world mattered at that
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Some would believe that he was the hero of the story for standing up to his boss for Queenie and her minions, but Queenie and her minions were the true heroes of Sammy's life for igniting a flame and burning his inability to incorporate change in his life to get out of the black hole that is A&P. Sammy is extremely judgmental towards the customers that he observes very closely throughout the story, however, hides
When I was writing my response, I thought of the word gender but nonconformity never came to mind when I read the story. Non-conformity is a good way to explain why people are distracted by the girls since it doesn’t follow the norm of the community. Do you think Sammy might be a little embarrassed for the girls since he explains in paragraph ten, “… the women generally put on a shirt or shorts or something…”? Another good point you brought up is stereotypical view.
He had a false sense of hope in being a hero and escaping to a better life, so he chose defiance. Most rebellious acts, even today, are based on the need to feel special and differentiated from others. Based on an article in Psychology Today, “Rebel with a Cause: Rebellion in Adolescence,” he is like many of today’s youth who rebel with the thought in mind, “Nobody is going to order me around” (Pickhardt). Sammy had a desire to govern his own life and not conform to rule-following. It seems hard for most youth to see the long-term advantages of hard work and reaching for a goal.
At first read, I thought this story was about the young cashier Sammy and his job at a small beach-town grocery store, or even how Sammy is smitten with some bikini-clad girls who come in the store. But reading deeper into John Updike's "A&P" and getting to the meat of the story, it is obvious it is about so much more. This is clearly a story about standing up to what you believe is wrong, and doing what is right, even if there are implications for your actions. As I was reading this story, I was taken in by the detailed descriptions Updike used when referring to the store and the people inside.
Within both of John Updike’s “A&P” and Haruki Murakami’s “On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning,” choice against fate is a recurring concept in which both protagonists in respective stories have reached the decision of tempting fate; a conscious one at that, not to mention as the story unravels. In Updike’s “A&P,” the protagonist believes that he has a choice in the life he is living in and detests his job. Sammy has a tedious life where he works at a local A&P store as a cashier and living through the very selfsame day like a relentless, endless cycle. In a way, he is not much taken with his profession due to the boredom it entails and believes that he has a choice in the life he is living in; Sammy could have a better job if he wants instead of being a cashier at a small grocery store in the town he resides. An example of Sammy’s assumption that he has a choice in the life he lives is his thoughts on his boss, Lengel.
Point of view describes the role the narrator plays in the events and any limits placed on his or her knowledge of events. First person point of view is the narrator speaking directly about their self. Omniscient point of view is when the narrator knows all the thoughts and feelings of each character in the story. Limited omniscient point of view is all knowing of one or some of the character’s
Sammy commits to what he states, “But it seems to me that once you begin a gesture it’s fatal not to go through with it” (21), “fatal” meaning that this decision will affect him in the future, but it is one he was willing to risk to impress Queenie. In the end, he began to re-evaluate his decision, “[...] and my stomach kind of fell as I felt how hard the world was going to be to me hear after” (21), implying that not one will Sammy have hard time trying to find and get another job, but if he continues with the same judgment and actions he is going to have a hard time getting through life and it will only get tougher as it goes
In the short story “A&P” by John Updike, Sammy quits his job because he realizes that he is tired of his same routine at the checkout counter and he wants to have the courage to stand up for people who do not always follow the masses. Upon seeing Queenie’s embarrassment when she is confronted by Lengel, Sammy realizes that he wants to change the way others treat those who express their individuality and uniqueness. Sammy longs for a society that is free of stereotyping and judgement. Queenie and Lengel are on opposite ends of the spectrum of conformity and Sammy is caught right in the middle. In order to make a point and to stand up for people who want to be original by expressing themselves, Sammy takes a chance and immediately tells Legel
I believe he knew deep down inside that he had made a mistake but was so full of pride there was no way for him to apologize or beg for his job back. I believe Sammy also realizes that he is finally going to experience the world as a man. He no longer has a job, or a steady source of income so he is going to have to be proactive and search for a new
Rudy, a character in the movie The Book Thief, repeatedly stands up for what he believes in: Liesel’s wellbeing. He represents the principle that standing up for what and whom one believes in has a huge effect on everyone and everything
As Queenie is paying for their items Lengel, the store manager walks into A&P and calls the girls out for breaking a store policy. Witnessing the girls’ embarrassment causes Sammy to decide to quit. When Sammy tells Lengel that he plans to quit Lengel says to him, “Sammy, you don’t want to do this to your Mom and Dad,’… It’s true, I don’t. But it seems to me that once you begin a gesture it’s fatal not to go through with it… ‘You’ll feel this for the rest of your life,’ Lengel says, and I know that’s true too, but remembering how he made the pretty girl blush makes me so scrunchy inside.”
Every character in works of literature are subjected to criticism and critique by its readers. In the short story, “A+P”, the protagonist, Sammy has been subjected to criticism for his actions of quitting his job, a reaction of seeing young ladies be disrespected in his workplace for wearing bathing suits. Many readers depict Sammy as immature and ignorant for quitting his job. However, the author, John Updike contradicts this assumption, portraying Sammy as a nineteen year old, who demonstrates strong morals, ambition, defiance, and a promising future, characterizing him not as an insolent teen but a developing young man.