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A & P: Why Sammy Quit

984 words - 4 pages

In the short story called "A & P" by John Updike, our main character Sammy is described as being a checkout clerk at the local grocery store. Sammy quits his job for many reasons. Sammy does not want to be referred as a "sheep", someone that follows, instead he wishes to do things on his own.

Sammy begins the story by describing the three girls in bathing suits who have walked into the A & P grocery store. The girl who catches his attention is a chunky girl in a plaid green two-piece swimsuit. As Sammy continues to observe the girls, his interest seems to focus only on the girl who leads the other two into the store. Sammy refers to the girl he likes as "Queenie",someone showing poise and leadership, while the other girls seem to just tag along like a herd of sheep. Being distracted by the unusual event, he forgets what he's doing, as his customer, an elderly lady with heavy red make-up on her lips and cheeks, gets frustrated and starts to correct Sammy's inattentive service. The story elaborates on how Sammy is very observant, and we begin to understand his perspectives on events he appreciates versus those he doesn't. Sammy further describes the girls, saying to himself "You never know for sure how girls' minds work (do you really think it's a mind in there or just a little buzz like a bee in a glass jar?) you get the idea she had talked the other two into coming in here with her, and now she was showing them how to do it, walk slow and hold yourself straight."(16). Sammy believes that the other two girls are willing to tag along with "Queenie" because she talked them into going, pointing out they just like anything and everything that "Queenie" likes for the sake of being cool, and once the interest in something is gone,they'd follow with her intentions as a herd of sheep would. Updike made a good point there, its true how some people are like that these days. And what Sammy said about the bees, it's true too. Bees aren't independent, they follow and take orders from the queen bee.

Sammy notices how all of the customers also act like sheep, which gets on his nerves.The next paragraph shifts to the next character, Sammy's co-worker, Stokesie. Stokesie is twenty-two, married, and has two children. Even though Stokesie plays a small part in the story, I believe that Updike included this character for a reason. This story isn't only based on calling people "sheep", but also has to do with "change." Change plays an important part in our life. We were all once little kids, small and naive. As a kid, we didn't know any better but to do exactly what we were told. We become prone to following...

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