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The A&P Rebel Essay

819 words - 4 pages

Blinded by immaturity and desire, a young boy evolves into a man in a single afternoon. John Updike’s short story “A&P” is a classic example of a teenage boy‘s battle with his changing internal chemistry. This stories protagonist, a nineteen year old boy, 'Sammy', believes he is above his current social standing as a grocery clerk, often referring to the customers as “sheep” (156). Sammy is also very keen at observing details of others, most specifically those he finds arousing. He will soon find out that even with his masterful observational skills the person he should be focusing on is himself.
The story begins in a small store called A&P where Sammy is a clerk, He seems to be extremely ...view middle of the document...

Sammy becomes extremely angry when he places himself in the girls' positions and says to Lengel, “You didn’t have to embarrass them” (159). Sammy sees a new pathway to happiness that he has been craving and immediately hands his apron to Lengel and quits his job to follow his insatiable girls. When he arrives outside the market doors however, the girls are nowhere to be found. He justifies quitting by believing that he is rebelling against social norms, as the girls had done.
Updike’s usage of imagery and symbolism helps to draw the reader in to the story and gives context into our unreliable protagonists’ thoughts. Sammy dubs the prettiest girl 'Queenie', which is not her real name, but an image of how he sees her. 'Queenie' represents everything that Sammy yearns to become. Standing at his register while watching her turn the heads of all the male customers Sammy thinks to himself, "She must have felt in the corner of her eye me and over my shoulder Stokesie in the second slot watching, but she didn't tip. Not this queen" (156). Queenie is a free-spirited, rebellious, and carefree person who is comfortable in her own skin. Sammy's admiration for her greatly intensifies with every passing second, and he becomes faint in her presence, until his decision to quit is made by his...

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