Analysis of A&P, by John Updike

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I quit! These words can be attached to so many things in life. At times in life things seem to be different then they really are, for instance the thrill and the excitement of having a summer job or even successfully getting a first job. There are certain moments in a person’s life that will always have an impact on them one could call this a definitive moment or an epiphany. In the short story A&P by John Updike the main character Sammy has an epiphany in that he realizes that a moral line has been crossed in his working environment. The story is a simple conflict followed by definitive action short story. It’s a wonderful portrayal of what a young man thinks and what he will stand for and what he will not. The fascinating part is how Sammy describes the young ladies as they enter the convenience store. Updike states “She was a chunky kid, with a good tan and a sweet broad soft-looking can with those two crescents of white just under it, where the sun never seems to hit, at the top of the backs of her legs”. Sammy is only talking about one of the three young ladies in this description. The descriptive words in the story are very thought provoking; Updike refers to the girls derrieres as “cans”. Imagery and symbolism are used frequently through out the story; Sammy describes the shoppers inside the A&P Updike uses this description “sheep pushing their carts down the aisles”. Updike uses Imagery to tell you where exactly where the A&P is located in the town, the lay out of the store and how Sammy’s co workers have a say in what he does and his work routine. Sammy is a nineteen year old man; he is no longer considered a minor by today’s’ society. He is trying to find out what he is doing working at a grocery store during the summer, in his mind he should be down on the beach checking out the ladies. The ocean seems to be just another aspect of the town, nothing too special. The following passage supports this Updike states “people in this town haven’t seen the ocean in twenty years”. Tourism is what drives ocean towns, and communities. It’s a simple matter of taxation the more money a city can make off of the natural or man made attractions the better off the city is.
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