John Updike's A & P

1249 Words5 Pages
As people make their way through life, they often find themselves for the first time at a moment where they must make a choice. They must choose between whether to stay, or to go. It is the first independent choice between what is familiar and the possibility of something greater. It is at this precise moment in time where Sammy finds himself while working in an A & P grocery store. It is only when Sammy is unexpectedly forced to contemplate his current predicament, does he decides to make his first life altering decision. Instead of complying with his current terms, Sammy declares independence. In the short story “A & P,” written by John Updike, Sammy quit his job as an act of rebellion against his foreseeable future. Often times, people…show more content…
Ultimately, it is not a decision Sammy take’s lightly. Lengel even states to Sammy at the end of the story, “”you’ll feel this for the rest of your life”” (Updike 435) Chances are, what made Sammy quit was after carefully weighing his options, he was dissatisfied. In Sammy’s eyes, his co-workers represent his possible future outcomes at A & P. Based off the textual evidence, it is self-evident that Sammy has animosity towards his co-workers and would rather not become one of them. To understand why, it is necessary to starting off with by examining his co-worker Storkesie. It is stated that, “Storkie’s Married, with two babies chalked up on his fuselage already” (Updike 432). The story also states that Storkie is twenty-two years old while Sammy is only eight-teen. With a modest age difference of four years, Sammy could easily look to Strokie and witness an example of his fate. A grocery store cashier worker with two kids and a wife. If Sammy would have stayed for a more extended amount of time, he could have possibly expected to become like Mchahon. Sammy shows resentment for Mchahon, especially as he states, “All that was left for us to see was old Mchahon patting his mouth and looking after sizing up their joints, poor kids, I began to feel sorry for them, they couldn 't help it” (Updike 432). Sammy gives a negative connotation to Mchahon, by expressing…show more content…
However, when Sammy was presented with a image of what life could be, he is inspired to make a choose about his future. Even though Sammy was incredibly judgmental towards the girls at first, he later digressed and somewhat complemented the girl he called “Queenie”. Queenie, figuratively speaking, represents the life Sammy wish he could live. This is revealed when Sammy hears her voice and Immediately begins to imagine himself with the hearing snakes and daydreams, about being at a fancy party. “All the sudden I slid right down her voice into her living room, 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” (Updike 433). Peter Carino also understands, “the evident contrast here between Sammy 's perception of Queenie 's parents and his own,” and proposes that this, “illustrates his understanding of class lines and his wish to aspire beyond them”
Open Document