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Analysis Of John Updike's A&P Essay

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John Updike's story "A&P" talks about a 19-year old lad, Sammy, who has a job at the local grocery store, the A&P. Sammy works at the register in the store and is always observing the people who walk in and out each day. On this particular day that the story takes place, Sammy is caught off guard when a cluster of girls walk into the store wearing just their bathing suits. This caught Sammy's attention because the nearest beach is five miles away and he could not figure out why they would still be in their suits. Sammy continues to overlook the girls in the store throughout their endeavor to pick up some item's that they were sent in for. While they are wandering around the store Sammy watches the reactions of other customers, is yelled at for ringing up a woman's item twice, and watches the whereabouts and gestures of the girls until checkout. Once the girls proceed to checkout they are approached by the manager of the store for being improperly dressed in public. Sammy felt that the encounter with the manager was unnecessary and discomforting to the girls and he decides it is time to quit his job. Sammy's decision to quit his job at the grocery store shows his development from an immature teenager to a person who will take a position for what he believes in no matter the consequences.
Sammy's immaturity is seen right from beginning of the story when he says, "In walks three girls in nothing but bathing suits"( Updike 596). At first Sammy could not watch them stroll around the store because his back was at the door, but once they were in his sight he instantaneously begins to illustrate them and notice every physical detail of each of the girls, from their skin tone to the color of the suits. He and his other friends that work i...


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...arts off being immature, gazing at the girls as they meander around the store. But, as time goes on he begins to grow up and realizes that he does not have to be like everyone else and begins to make his own decisions. He starts by feeling sympathetic for the girls and not just looking at their appearance. Then to stand up to his boss and telling him he doesn't like the way he treated the girls. Finally Sammy goes on to quit his job and take a stand for what he believes is right, not what others think is right for him. This shows his growth to mature and make his own rational decisions no matter what consequences may arise.


Works Cited
Magill, Frank N. Critical Survey of Short Fiction. Vol. 6. Pasadena, California: Salem Press, 1993.
Updike, John. "A & P." Bedford Introduction to Literature. Ed. Michael Meyer. 6th Edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2002.


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