A Boy Who Had Enough

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The short story “A&P” by John Updike is about a cashier, Sammy, who decides to resign his job at A&P. This resignation was due to three young women in bikinis who create a scene with the store manager because the manager tells them they are not dressed appropriately. Consequently, Sammy quits his job and goes after the girls but once he is outside the store the girls are gone and so is his job. Feeling hopeful about a future he does not know about, he moves on. The story states a good view on society’s perception of youth as being stupid. Although Sammy acted ignorantly, he had many reasons that would support his decision to quit his job at A&P. His reasons could have been the manager, Sammy's boring life, or the pressure of having to succeed. According to Short Story for Students “An important theme in “A&P” is that of choices and consequences. All of the main characters in the story must make a choice and endure the consequences of that choice”. Sammy's consequence is losing his job and ultimately everything he had. Among the many reasons he could have quit his job, the manager was possibly the major reason for Sammy to make such a decision. The manager not only embarrassed the three girls, but his actions he could have triggered Sammy to acknowledge the reason he hates the degrading of women. According to Short Stories for Students the manager “Has known Sammy’s parents for a long time…” So it’s clear that he is not just a manager but a friend of Sammy’s parents, making Sammy feel more conflicted about disappointing the people he loved. Sammy’s parents aren’t in the story but they are thought of in Sammy’s mind, proving that Sammy is worried of what his loved ones will think of after what he did: “He’s been a friend of my... ... middle of paper ... ...he door but what led him to quit was the pressure not only the parent puts on him but his manager as well. The elegance of the girls could have given a reason to Sammy to believe they had nothing to lose and he was going to be secure “There are clues that the girls’ rebellion has its roots in economic privilege, a privilege not available to Sammy” (Sustana). Sammy is a very generic male who is attracted to a female that is out of his league, but because he pursues the unknown he gets the unknown. Works Cited "A & P." Short Stories For Students. Gale Virtual Library, 1998. Web. 16 Jan. 2014. Saldivar, Toni. "The Art of John Updike's 'A & P'" Literature Resources from Gale. N.p., 2007. Web. 27 Jan. 2014. Sustana, Catherine. "Analysis of 'A & P' by John Updike." About.com Short Stories. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Jan. 2014. Updike, John. A&P. N.p.: New Yorker, 1961. Print
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