A & P By John Updike

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“A&P” is a popular coming of age short story written by John Updike. The story follows the narrator/protagonist Sammy; who works at a local A&P. While working three girls in bathing suits enter the store; Sammy doesn’t know it yet, but this interlude in his life will have a great impact on his life and even him as a person. From the extensively long monologue Sammy has within his head we get a very vivid or rather picturesque description of the three young women. Even as these women go furtively in and out of different aisles Sammy’s watchful eye rarely misses them which could be called by some a little obsessive. He begins to form educated guesses on how their lives must be like and what they must be like when in their natural habitat. Updike brings the reader into the mind of a working 19-year-old and it is nothing less of excellent. Sammy is attracted to the women for obvious reasons; he brings up their figures and lady bits quite often. Updike finds a way to showcase the mind of an average teenager and make the reader feel comfortable drowning in Sammy’s thoughts. This paper will break down “A&P” through and through while analyzing everything that made this short story so powerful and impactful. According to, An Introduction to A and P, “A&P” represents one of Updike’s most successful coming-of-age narratives; the story articulates a teenaged boy’s sudden awareness of the split between his inner feelings and society’s values (319). This is intriguing to me as a reader because we witness Sammy rebel against the norm; he quits his job and embarks on a journey that is the unknown. Since the reader is allowed inside the protagonist’s mind we get a better understanding of who he is as a person. Given that we are seeing the story th... ... middle of paper ... ... them or gain their attention. And I to have a job with bosses that constantly ridicule others so I understand wanting to quit as well. I also believe that at some point everyone has experienced the unknown. Our stories may not be the exact same, but I think many will be able to relate with Sammy in their own ways. That concludes this paper I am extremely tired and may be figuratively or literally dying of thirst at the moment. I do want to end this by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed “A&P” and that out of all the stories we’ve read this semester “A&P” is my favorite by far. The story incorporates in the reader in such an organic way that you start to believe you are one with Sammy. John Updike does an amazing job of exploring the mind of an adolescent male and describing everything in the process. I can continue, but as I stated earlier I’m tired so I bid you adieu.

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