A & P, by John Updike

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The short story “A & P” by John Updike is about a young man’s decision to stand up for others or, in the other characters’ opinions, make a foolish decision by abandoning his responsibility. At first he believes his decision is the right thing, quitting his job for how the girls were being treated. Then when he gets outside of the store, he realizes the world he just left behind, regrets his decision, and begins to question his actions. He starts to overthink what the world has to offer him, making his worldview change from underrating to overrating. His “unsure of the world’s dangers” worldview in the beginning changes to overrating the dangers of the future ahead at the end of the story causing Sammy to change throughout “A & P”. The beginning of “A & P” starts with the main character, Sammy, at work when three girls in nothing but bathing suits walks in. According to Lawrence Dessner, the A & P check out counter showed Sammy a sample of insult and indignity of ordinary people (317). He may not have liked the people that shopped there, but he received insight of the real world. A woman that was currently at Sammy's counter was middle aged and brought Sammy no sympathy to the shoppers; he sometimes mention them as sheep. His names of the shoppers also include insight of Sammy's view of the ordinary shoppers; Sammy did not care much for others. “Sammy wishes to quit, but he resists doing so because his parents would regard his decision as 'the sad part of the story'” (Thompson 215). Sammy points out that he thinks of quitting his job many times during the story, subtle as they are, he begins with the observation of quitting during the summer rather the winter and the part where he has mentioned “the sad part of the story” (Up... ... middle of paper ... ...e, Sammy becomes an overthinker instead of an unrealistic believer which becomes his new worldview at the end of "A & P". Works Cited Dessner, Lawrence Jay. "Irony and Innocence in John Updike's 'A&P'." Studies In Short Fiction 25.3 (1988): 315.Literary Reference Center Plus. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. Little, Anne C., and Robert C. Evans. "A&P." Short Fiction: A Critical Companion (1997): 252-255. Literary Reference Center Plus. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. Mcfarland, Ronald E. "Updike and the Critics: Reflections on 'A&P'." Studies in Short Fiction 20.2/3 (1983): 95.Literary Reference Center Plus. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. Thompson, Corey Evan. "Updike's A&P." Explicator 59.4 (2001): 215. Literary Reference Center Plus. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. Updike, John. “A & P.” The Norton Introduction to Literature. Eds. Alison Booth and Kelly J. Mays. New York: W. W. Norton, 2011. 409-414. Print.
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