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”.
It’s our policy” (Updike 6). The manager is clearly claiming that he is more superior to the girls to decide what appropriate attire is. By arguing, “it’s our policy” he is representing the perspective of everyone in the store, or perhaps even the community. This frustrates Sammy, and he decides to quit his job. When looking back at the store after walking out, Sammy’s “stomach kind of fell as [he] felt how hard the world was going to be to [him] hereafter” (Updike 8).
For the moment, at least, he's reposing the confidence that he's doing the right thing". One may agree with Updike's opinion, because as Sammy stated himself, he wanted to be an "unsuspected hero" (152). Also, he was indeed deceived by that moment of attraction. Trying to be the girls hero, with good intentions as Updike stated, he has quit his job, which in a long run, will need. M. Glibert Porter, another who gives his opinion on the story A&P.
Overall white knighting is an innocuous act and is basically just sticking up for another person. However, the way Sammy did it in the story, by quitting his job, was completely antithetical to how he should have done it. Instead of just pointing out Lengal 's crude way of handling the girls, he decided that quitting and hoping that the girl would see it would be enough to make them have some sort of adoration for him. The following quote shows Sammy wanting a reward for standing up for someone: "so I [Sammy] say "I quit" to Lengel quick enough for them to hear, hoping they 'll [the girls] stop and watch me, their unsuspected hero. (Updike 90).
Holden was constantly wallowed in self-pity, hatred, and regrets he had no way of moving on from his past. He counted on Allie even when he was no longer there, “Allie don’t let me disappear” (Salinger). His hope would only diminish every time he would fail again or notice another flaw in the world. Even though he had several opportunities to change his life around he treated each one the same as before, and then was disgraced when he only grew more depressed. This is one of the reasons there is so much controversy surrounding this novel on whether schools should read it, as stated by this critic, “some people complained that the novel’s language was crude and obscene” (Moss and Wilson).
Bathing Beauties John Updike’s “A&P” is a short story about a nineteen year old boy during the 1960’s that has a summer job at the local A&P grocery. The main character in the story, Sammy, realizes that life isn’t always fair and that sometimes a person makes decisions that he will regret. Sammy sees that life doesn’t always go as planned when three young girls in bathing suits walk in and his manager Lengel gives them a hard time, and he comes to term with that sometimes you make bad decisions. Sammy is astounded by three young girls that walk into his store in their bathing suits. He follows their every move as they peruse over the cookies and other goods.
Sammy's decision to quit his job at the grocery store shows his development from an immature teenager to a person who will take a position for what he believes in no matter the consequences. Sammy's immaturity is seen right from beginning of the story when he says, "In walks three girls in nothing but bathing suits"( Updike 596). At first Sammy could not watch them stroll around the store because his back was at the door, but once they were in his sight he instantaneously begins to illustrate them and notice every physical detail of each of the girls, from their skin tone to the color of the suits. He and his other friends that work i... ... middle of paper ... ...arts off being immature, gazing at the girls as they meander around the store. But, as time goes on he begins to grow up and realizes that he does not have to be like everyone else and begins to make his own decisions.
Sammy, feeling that the managerial display was unnecessary and unduly embarrassing for the girls, decides to quit his position as checker. Thought he knows that his decision may be hasty, he knows that he has to follow through and he can never go back. He leaves, with a clean conscious, but the burden of not knowing what the future has in store. This story represents a coming-of-age for Sammy. Though it takes place over the period of a few minutes, it represents a much larger process of maturation.
At the point that Sammy says, “I quit,” the tone becomes more serious and tense. In the last section, Updike uses phrases that give the idea that Sammy is rambling and uses words such as “nervous” and “fumbling” to convey a very uneasy tone. Sammy isn’t quite sure what he just got himself into when he quits his job. There is also a very regretful and reflective tone, as Sammy gets ready to leave his job that he just quit. His boss, Lengel tries to convince him to stay by saying he “doesn’t want to do this to [his] mom and dad.” And Sammy knows right then that he doesn’t but says that it would be “fatal” if he didn’t go through with his decision at this point.
In the short story “A & P” author John Updike introduces Sammy, a young cashier at the supermarket A & P, who becomes mesmerized by three girls who walk in to the grocery store wearing nothing but bathing suits. The story follows Sammy’s thoughts while he traces the girls’ path around the store, daydreaming about who they are and why they are in the store. While checking out, the three girls are reprimanded for their lack of clothing by the store’s manager and in a display of presumptuous chivalry, Sammy quits his job. However, when one assumes perceptions to be reality the mystery of another’s mind can prove to be disappointingly different, and therefore one should make decisions carefully before jumping to conclusions. The story opens when one day girls in bathing suits walk in to the store to buy snacks.