Sammy, a Follower or a Leader
John Updike, an excellent author of a short story presents us in A & P, a part of teenager’s life, easy to relate with everyone’s life. The picture, in which John Updike introduce his character, Sammy, as a responsible and mature young man which is working at A & P at the age of nineteen, conflicts with his rebellious actions and a behavior of typical American adolescent who is trying to overcome the growing pain of adolescence in search of individuality in a society in which following standards is mandatory and where talking or showing sexuality is a taboo.
Starting from the beginning, John Updike shows us Sammy’s simple life in a small town and a future that is not very promising , with a job in the only supermarket from region in a quiet day when is “nothing much to do except lean on the register and wait for the girls to show up again. The whole store was like a pinball machine” (Updike 19), that is not offering many opportunities instead of him going to college as many of his fellow friends did.
John Updike's setting Sammy gives a dull and everyday same kind of thing illustration of the people in the checkout, which he refers to them as “The sheep pushing their carts down the aisle -- the girls were walking against the usual traffic (not that we have one-way signs or anything) -- were pretty hilarious” (Updike 19) and “scared pigs in a chute.” (Updike 21), for which unusual was not a part of life and deviating from a pattern to be different irritates. Their irritation is accentuated by the presence of the three bare feet girls wearing just swimsuits in a grocery store that is “is five miles from a beach, with a big summer colony out on the Point, but we're right in the middle of town.”(Updike 19)
Seeing the girls, Sammy’s feeling get mixed at this time, his heart start pounding and looks at the customer’s products “trying to remember if [he] rang it up or not.”(Updike 17) The sexuality that is promoted by the young girls clothing, not welcome in the setting of supermarket A&P, and against the store policy, even though the girls were behaving good. They were trying to attract or grab attention from other people they reaching “the meat counter” (Updike 19) and only focusing on what they come to buy a “Kingfish Fancy Herring Snacks in Pure Sour Cream.” (Updike 20)
Sammy gives a detailed and intense description of the girls, especially of their leader, named by him Queenie, a nice young and attractive upper class girl, by watching her every move, making his heart beating, accentuating the “fluorescent lights…over checkerboard green-and-cream rubber-tile floor” (Updike 19), and all setting of the store,
She kept her eyes moving across the racks, and stopped, and turned so slow it made my stomach rub the inside of my apron, and buzzed to the other two, who kind of huddled against her for relief, and they all three of them went up the...