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An Analysis of John Updike's A&P Essay

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An Analysis of John Updike's A&P


In his short story "A & P" John Updike utilizes a 19-year-old adolescent to show us how a boy gets one step closer to adulthood. Sammy, an A & P checkout clerk, talks to the reader with blunt first person observations setting the tone of the story from the outset. The setting of the story shows us Sammy's position in life and where he really wants to be. Through the characterization of Sammy, Updike employs a simple heroic gesture to teach us that actions have consequences and we are responsible for our own actions.

Sammy is a 19-year-old boy conveying a cocky but cute male attitude. He describes three girls entering the A & P, setting the tone of the story. "In walk these three girls in nothing but bathing suits. There was this chunky one, with the two piece-it was bright green and the seams on the bra were still sharp and her belly was still pretty pale...there was this one, with one of those chubby berry-faces, the lips all bunched together under her nose, this one, and a tall one, with black hair that hadn't quite frizzed righ...


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