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Life During And After The "A & P"

682 words - 3 pages

Essay descibes John Updike's short story "A & P" and answers two questions- What life lessons does Sammy learn? and How does Sammy's experience relate to a personnal experience?A single event can forever change a person's life. In the short story "A & P," byJohn Updike, a young boy named Sammy has his life forever changed during what beginsas a normal day at his job at an A & P grocery store. For the first time, Sammy witnesses,and is eventually initiated into, a world of complete freedom, where one can choose theirown path rather than follow the path already laid. Everyone at some point in their livesencounter similar situations. Sammy learns that his choice to take freedom will not onlyeffect the life he currently leads, but will also have profound influences over the life hewill eventually have.Sammy's current life revolves around going to work at the local A & P in his EastCoast town. Luckily for Sammy, his life does not remain monotonous for long. His lifebegins to change forever as "three girls in nothing but bathing suits" lead by a girl whoSammy refers to as "Queenie" walk into the A & P. Sammy has never witnessed suchfreedom. It is in these girls that Sammy sees the freedom his life is missing. This truly isan unprecedented event for Sammy's quiet little town where "women generally put on ashirt or shoes" before entering the A & P and even then they are generally "women withsix children and varicose veins mapping their legs" Queenie has a distinct advantage overSammy and the rest of the town which allows her to act so freely, specifically money.Regardless of Queenie's economic situation, the negative reaction of the town to the girl'ssense of freedom will be enough to give Sammy the reason to change his life. The girlsare suddenly threatened by Lengel, the store's manager who tells Queenie "this isn't thebeach." As Sammy watches Lengel challenge Queenie it is as though he is seeing freedom itself being challenged. Sammy...

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