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Analysis Of John Updike's Short Story, A & P

946 words - 4 pages

In the short story,  “A & P” by John Updike, Sammy is an employee at the local A & P supermarket in a small town in New England.  During his time spent as a clerk in the checkout line, he builds a resentment for the customers and management at the store.  Sammy is very displeased with his job and appears to be looking for an excuse to leave.  Sammy is nineteen years old and is intrigued about the opposite sex.
  One day at work, Sammy notices that three attractive females have walked into the store wearing only their bathing suits.  Immediately Sammie notices “Queenie,” a name he gave to the most attractive girl.  “Queenie” appears to be the leader in the group of the three girls.  “Plaid” is also one of the three girls wearing the bathing suits.  She is attractive, but is no match for “Queenie's” beauty.  The third girl ,“Big Tall Goony Goony” justifies “Queenie's” beauty by contrasting to her attractiveness."
When the three girls were done shopping and ready to check out, they approach Sammy's register. Lengel, the black and white style manager, confronts the girls about their attire.  Lengel criticizes the girls for shopping in his store in their beachwear.  He states the store policy requires that "their shoulders be covered.” The three girls are embarrassed by the ex-Sunday school teacher, " blushing though their light tans."  Sammy rang up the items for the girls, but as the  transaction was finished, he states to the manager, “I quit.”  
Sammy, trying to be the hero and standing up for the girls, gets completely ignored and unnoticed by the girls that he so desperately wanted to impress.  The trio had already turned their backs and were headed for the exit.  Sammy has a quick discussion with his ex-manager and rushes outside.  To his surprise, the girls had vanished and could not be found. He doesn't know if they appreciated it or were impressed or if they thought he was a fool.
The power of sexual attraction caused Sammy to ignore his logical frame of mind and produce a foolish decision.  This decision would not only affect him, but affect his fellow co-workers and parents as well. His co-workers will have to fill in for his absence and Lengel is a friend of Sammy's parents. After Sammy's bold move, he is left with no girls, no source of income: just series of actions to reflect upon.  I believe if this situation arises again, he would make a different choice as Sammy's "stomach kind of fell as I felt how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter." (380)
The three girls in this story should have been more considerate of their attire when entering a place of business.  The beachwear...

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