Premium Essay

A&P by John Updike

In: English and Literature

Submitted By cindyblara
Words 913
Pages 4
Growing Up: Much Harder Than We Expected As people age and grow up, maturity and wisdom is gained through every experience. From the time a child becomes an adult, they are required to deal with real life situations, and learn how to handle their responsibilities. In the short story “A&P” by John Updike, Sammy the narrator, is a young immature nineteen-year-old that makes a drastic change to his life. His immaturity and wishing to do and say whatever he wants leads into consequences he must face.
The short story, A&P, takes place in a small New England town’s A&P grocery store. A&P is in the center off the town, five miles down the beach. Sammy is a grocery cashier, who finds himself fascinated by three girls in swim suits. Chunky or plain girl, is the first girl that catches Sammy’s attention. She has a tan with lines behind her back legs were the sun never hits. There was this tall girl too. Big tall “Goony-Goony” with a chin that was too long. The third one was the leader or “Queenie”, the name that Sammy used, was the most beautiful of all three. The way she walked with her prima-donna long legs catch Sammy’s attention. As the girls go around shopping through the store, Sammy observes the reactions of other customers as they see this girls outfit. The girls, however appear to be unique in all aspects. Walking down the aisle barefoot, standing up straight with their necks over stretched. They are different than the usual customers that Sammy sees every day, and this is what catches his attention. Sammy observes their movements and gestures up until the time of their check out. As they proceed to check out, they are confronted by the store manager for their unacceptable appearance. He believes that their attire is indecent and inappropriate. Sammy believed that the managerial display was unnecessary and embarrassing for the girls. He decides to quit his...

Similar Documents

Free Essay

A&P -> John Updike

...Perez 1         A&P The short story A&P by John Updike is about three teenage girls who walk into an A&P grocery store only wearing bathing suits. The story is narrated by a young man named Sammy. Sammy is working the checkout line when the three girls walk in. Sammy gives a description of each girl but shows much interest in the in the most attractive girl and he names her “Queenie” because she appears to be the leader of the three. A major themes that is  shown in the short story is the objectifying of women. Sammy throughout the story objectifies these girls by comparing parts of their bodies to food. “She was a chunky kid, with a good tan and sweet broad soft looking can” (348). He is clearly only looking at her butt and compares it to a can. He focuses only on her butt and seems to like from the rest of her. “... and the plump one in plaid, that i liked better from the back­ a really sweet can­ pipes up” (352). Sammy makes it obvious that he only cares and sees the girls butt. So he objectifies her by the looks of her butt. Sammy is also physically attracted to the most attractive girl. “... she lifts a folded dollar bill out of the hollow at the center of her nubbled pink top. The jar went heavy in my hands” (351). The fact that the jar went heavy in his hands is because he got concentrated on her breasts and was only thinking about them. Sammy is only thinking and staring at her breasts and he objectifies her......

Words: 782 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

A&P by John Updike

...Xavian Arnold Dr. Patterson English 112 28 March 2012 A & P: An Analysis of the Character “Sammy” As people age, maturity and wisdom is gained through every experience. From the time a child turns eighteen and becomes an adult, they are required to deal with the realities of the real world and learn how to handle its responsibilities. In John Updike’s short story “A&P” the protagonist Sammy is a young man in 1961 New England who works in the town’s local grocery store. In a matter of a day, Updike goes from an immature boy with unrealistic ideas and fantasies, to a man who is about to realize how life altering the choices he makes can be. Sammy realizes that life isn’t always fair and that sometimes it involves the consequences that life can deal to anyone who has not had time to test a rash decision. Updike’s story illustrates that a part of growing up is a willingness to accept consequences of one’s choices, and that life's hardest lessons are sometimes learned a little too late. This story represents a coming-of-age for Sammy, as seen through his evaluations of the costumers as the story develops.  Though it takes place over the period of a few minutes, it represents a much larger process of Sammy’s growth.  From the time the girls enter the grocery store, to the moment they leave, you can see changes in Sammy.  At first, he only notices the physical appearance of the girls:  how they look and what they are wearing, seem to be his only thoughts.  As the......

Words: 1114 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

A & P By John Updike Analysis

...A&P Story and Character Analysis “…My stomach kind of fell as I felt how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter” (153). Unfortunately, many people can relate to this feeling after making a mistake or unintelligent decision. “A&P”, a short story, by John Updike tells of a brief yet problematic encounter in a local supermarket. The protagonist Sammy works as a cashier at the local A&P just north of Boston. After the incident when his boss embarrassed a group of young girls in the store, he impulsively decides he wants to quit as an act of heroism for the young embarrassed girls. Because he was distracted, he made an irrational decision that affected him and the people around him negatively. In “A&P”, Updike communicates the theme of thinking...

Words: 1130 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

John Updike A & P Analysis

...In the story of "A&P" by John Updike, the main character and narrator, Sammy, demonstrates that he is very observant and judgmental. Sammy could also be described as a critic. Throughout the story Sammy describes the different customers and makes comments about their appearance. Sammy also compares his lifestyle to the lifestyles of his coworkers and customers. Sammy describes the A&P to be located in the middle of town, nowhere near the beach, which confuses him about the girls who come in with their swimsuits on. Sammy also uses imagery to describe the A&P. The store is described by Sammy as a pinball machine, he says he never knows what tunnel the customers will come out of. Throughout the story, Sammy observes and narrates his descriptions of the A&P customers. He describes the housewives as "sheep" because he fails to see any difference between the housewives. The housewives also walk aimlessly down the aisles and just follow each other around in a flock. Sammy also made a statement about...

Words: 536 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

John Updike A & P Conflict

...“A&P,” a short story by John Updike, consists of interlacing conflicts which lead to the single most important conflict in a teenager’s life: not knowing the unknown. These conflicts develop through the use of foreshadowing and flashbacks that lead to the character departure from the A&P. The author uses a first person view of a working teenager, who struggles to escape the social classes and the burdens of expectations from society and his peers as he in order to become more in charge of his life. We learn that Sammy’s personality is less traditional compare to his manager Lengel, when his peers are ridicule for showing skin, or indecent for the time. This one conflict tells him that the A&P is might not be the best for him because it is like a ball and chain. But just by being a teenager, he has not developed the reality that people cannot compare yourself to others, because it might...

Words: 640 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

A & P By John Updike Theme Essay

...An individual’s character can always be tested at any given moment. A prime example would be when a person stands up for what he or she believes in, even if it may hurt him or her in the end. The short story “A&P” by John Updike, shows how a character by the name of Sammy, stands for what he thinks is right. A theme that the reader may take away from this story is that one should always stand up for what is right despite the consequences that may follow. By using the main character of the story, Updike shows how Sammy exemplifies himself through his own actions. In this story, three girls walk into a store wearing only their swimsuits. Sammy’s boss does not like the sight of this and begins calling the girls out. Sammy does not like the way that his boss handles the situation and takes a stand for the girls. By standing up for the girls, Sammy loses his job for doing what was right. Readers can often times relate and feel connected to Sammy. Updike writes this story in first person point-of-view so it looks as if the narrator is Sammy. The reader is then able to see what all is going through Sammy’s mind. Throughout the story, the reader can see what all...

Words: 536 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

John Updike A & P Symbolism

...A&P In John Updike’s short story “A&P,” the characters, especially the narrator, display the theme of “growing up” through their reckless behavior. The desire for this youthfulness and individuality is a major aspect of the transition out of youth and into adulthood. From the time three girls walked into the town’s, small-scale grocery store, the A&P, a young, grocery clerk’s life and view on his youth was from that point changed. Day to day, as a grocery clerk, Sammy would observe the locals as they passed in and out of the store. When a new, and unusual sighting of three, scandalous, teenage girls appeared, Sammy found himself infatuated with their presence. It was a refreshing sight from the usual, mundane crowd that he is accustomed to. He is first drawn to their appearance. They were all in their bathing suits, one even with her straps...

Words: 876 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

How To Write A Rhetorical Analysis On A & P By John Updike

...A&P John Updike As I began to read A&P by John Updike, I began to relate to Sammy. I relate to his views on the girls and I relate to how he is not assimilated into the group at A&P. When seeing girls in bikinis that are attractive, it is natural for a teen to stop and look. Sammy reacted the same way I would have, by checking them out. The girls relate to Sammy because they defy the normal standards of the store. This is just like Sammy. Sammy is a sarcastic guy who is not trying to climb the corporate ladder at A&P. He is unlike his co worker, Stokesie, who is trying to be promoted. I felt like Sammy represents an everyday teen. He works for extra cash and he checks out girls. Having finished the reading, I realized that the girls were a symbol for him. This symbol was to defy the standards of society and do what you want. As I reread and studied A&P, I noticed the connection between Sammy and the girls. Sammy intently looks at each of the three girls. He uses descriptive words...

Words: 1524 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

John Updike's "A & P"

...John Updike “A & P” We were asked in class to write a short paper after being asked the question, “What is the most intriguing or interesting piece we have read, and why?” My response to this question was John Updike’s “A & P”. “A & P” was not the best or even the most interesting piece that I have read. However, out of all of the stories that I have read for this class, “A & P” left me with the most questions. Some of the questions that I asked myself after reading this story were, “What did Updike want me to get from this story?” The second question I asked myself was, “Was there any symbolism or foreshadowing in the extreme amount of detail that Updike used in this story?” The last question that I wanted to answer was, “Is that it?” Did John Updike really write a story about dress code of a supermarket? Or, did he write this story about the moral dilemma a young clerk faces when he believes his boss was rude to three underdressed girls? John Updike’s “A & P” was first published in 1962. This story took place in a small grocery store. The main character, Sammy, is a young clerk. He is ringing up a lady whom he describes as a “witch”, when three young ladies enter the store wearing nothing but bathing suits. Updike uses great detail in describing the three girls. The first one that he noticed was described as “a chunky kid, with a good tan and a sweet broad soft-looking can with those two crescents of white just under it, where the sun never seems to hit…”...

Words: 1597 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

A&P and Cathedral Comparison Essay

...Mallory Russell 06/12/15 Comparison Essay ENG 102 Online “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver versus “A + P” by John Updike In the short stories “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver and “A + P” by John Updike the protagonists experience an epiphany that change their restricted way of thinking. The main character, “Sammy” in John Updike’s, “A + P” is a teenage boy working in the town grocery store. Sammy experiences an epiphany when he decides to quit his job at the grocery store. He quit because he believed that it was wrong of his boss to treat customers poorly due to any pre-conceived notion that was determined by what the customer looks like. Raymond Carver’s main character named “the husband” in his story “Cathedral” experiences an epiphany when he realizes he has wrongly stereotyped, a visiting friend of his wife’s named “Robert” because he blind. The theme of both of the stories, “Cathedral” and “A+P” is that the main characters are influenced and motivated by other individuals within the story to change their close-minded thinking. In “Cathedral” the character Robert, served as the husband’s motivation for change when he comes to stay with the husband and his wife. The three teenage girls in “A + P”, serve as the motivation to change Sammy’s way of thinking when they enter the grocery store dressed risqué to the grocery store’s standards. Raymond Carver portrayed the husband in “Cathedral” as a cynical person from the beginning of the story. The husband’s wife enjoyed......

Words: 1631 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

Literature

...non-fiction, fiction, and drama are literature works. It describes tradition and cultures beginning centuries ago. “Saving Sourdi” was set in the United States of America. It takes place at the family operated restaurant. Literature affects people personally according to their current area of their life. It all depends on one’s ability to want to learn literature. We will always find a work of literature that shows values, morale, and attitudes of society. “The men had been growing louder, until they were our only customers, and, finally one of them staggered up and put his arm across Sourdi’s shoulders. He called her his “China doll” and his friends hooted at this”. (Chai, 2001, p.81-82) “He was just this funny looking white kid…Chopstick-boy I called him just to be mean”. (Chai, 2001, p.84) The “Birthmark” was told in third person. The wife’s unwanted birthmark on her face caused problems in their marriage. He wanted to remove her birthmark which caused her death. In “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” the grandmother hats symbolizes her demise in life. She held onto her hat the whole story even after death. The town of Toomsboro means day of doom due to the fact everybody died. The Misfits car described it was built like a hearse which symbolizes death. “Battle Royal” theme is when blacks were still being mistreated like slaves. The slaves had been freed but were treated badly because of their skin color. He just wanted a normal life so he kissed white folks behind to......

Words: 1691 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Symbolism In John Updike's A & P

...In modern day society, going out of the social norm of acting and dressing like others is a conflict that collides with a person’s individuality to act on what they feel is the right thing to do. In John Updike’s “A&P”, he sheds light on how societal norms are inflexible and how Sammy, the main character, seeks to not conform to what everyone else in his town are doing and finds validation to pursue his individuality through the nonconformity of the three girls who enter the A&P store. However, while Updike write about Sammy’s ordinary life and brings the three girls in the story to represent freedom, they have an affect on Sammy and helps him realize that there is more to his life other than working in A&P everyday. The author advances his...

Words: 1145 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Updike Review

...John Updike’s essay Pigeon Feathers is what I’d call a story that’s filled with descriptive passionate thought. The author’s detail of every scene places the reader in the rise and fall of every setting of the story. For example, Updike presents the setting of the story with specific the details of the furniture, “The blue wing chair that had stood for years in the ghostly, immaculate guest bedroom, gazing through the windows curtained with dotted swiss toward the telephone wires and horse-chestnut trees and opposite houses was here established, importantly in front of the smutty little fire place that supplied, in those first cold April days, their only heat.” I believe this may have been the longest sentence in the essay, but nevertheless, I appreciate Updike’s detail. In John Updike’s essay Pigeon Feathers David is overcome with a personal mission the find out what happens to people after death. I believe that the internal questions verbalized to Rev. Dobson from David were aided by his perceptions of the soul shaped by his findings. His anxiety with the past gives understanding of his growing fear of death; after all, our relationship to the past is largely a relationship with people and things that are now gone. David doesn't even like to dwell on the "gulf of time" in his parents' lives before they had him (p 262). This attitude could have been partially influenced by His father who also had a fear of returning to, what he called, the “dark ages” because of his...

Words: 484 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

A&P Analisys

...John Updike’s “A&P” as a provocative tale of social perception In order to understand the two stories on John Updike’s “A&P”, the characters have to hold the weight of being the most important theme in the short story. The first set of characters consists of Sammy, the Girls, and Lengel who all dictate the first short story from Sammy’s point of view. The second of the two tales Updike pens about in this short, is that of where he makes us question what being “decent” by society’s current standards means, by putting an emphasis on perception and almost spoon-feeding us readers to pick up on what he’s trying to imply by using Sammy to illustrate it all. The paper-thin storyline consisting of what Sammy is going through by narrating and the other, which is the main story being Sammy and the girls representing freedom and non-conformity from a neutral point of view versus what Lengel, the shoppers, and the storefront itself represent as being the socially correct status quo and policy we hold as normal living in society. In this story the establishment that is the A&P itself, is portrayed as routine and monotonous as a market in the middle of town can possibly be. Updike made it so on purpose, to give us a neutral setting that synonymous with our reality and what we perceive as normal behavior in society. The A&P is acceptable as a run-of-the-mill chain market, this character represents the status quo of a 1st world society where one is judged instantly for......

Words: 901 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Initiation Into Adulthood In Junot Diaz's A & P

...Initiation into adulthood is an event in which every human being participates. The initiation process helps adolescents grow and mature into reasonable adults, and it is the basis of many artists’ paintings, songs, and written stories. A few notable works about the orientation into adulthood are Junot Diaz’s essay called “They Money”, Lynda Barry’s essay “The Sanctuary of School”, and finally John Updike’s story titled “A&P.” All three of these stories provide a glimpse into the path to adulthood. First of all, Diaz’s “The Money” speaks of a teenager who lives in a home where money is scarce. He says “She chipped dollars off from the cash Papi gave her for our daily expenses, forced our already broke family to live even broker” (Diaz 912)....

Words: 1228 - Pages: 5