Analysis of John Updike's Short Story, A & P

Good Essays
In the short story, “A & P” by John Updike, Sammy is an employee at the local A & P supermarket in a small town in New England. During his time spent as a clerk in the checkout line, he builds a resentment for the customers and management at the store. Sammy is very displeased with his job and appears to be looking for an excuse to leave. Sammy is nineteen years old and is intrigued about the opposite sex.

One day at work, Sammy notices that three attractive females have walked into the store wearing only their bathing suits. Immediately Sammie notices “Queenie,” a name he gave to the most attractive girl. “Queenie” appears to be the leader in the group of the three girls. “Plaid” is also one of the three girls wearing the bathing suits. She is attractive, but is no match for “Queenie's” beauty. The third girl ,“Big Tall Goony Goony” justifies “Queenie's” beauty by contrasting to her attractiveness."

When the three girls were done shopping and ready to check out, they approach Sammy's register. Lengel, the black and white style manager, confronts the girls about their attire. Lengel criticizes the girls for shopping in his store in their beachwear. He states the store policy requires that "their shoulders be covered.” The three girls are embarrassed by the ex-Sunday school teacher, " blushing though their light tans." Sammy rang up the items for the girls, but as the transaction was finished, he states to the manager, “I quit.”

Sammy, trying to be the hero and standing up for the girls, gets completely ignored and unnoticed by the girls that he so desperately wanted to impress. The trio had already turned their backs and were headed for the exit. Sammy has a quick discussion with his ex-manager and r...

... middle of paper ...

...n again in the future. When you stand up for what you believe is right, that sometimes it will be not an easy thing to do because all actions have consequences. Hopefully, Sammy learns from his actions and choices from this instance to make a better decision in the next situation. In my opinion ,he overreacted to the entire situation. He should have just let Lengel deal with the girls and not have gotten involved. He also should have taken in consideration that Lengel was simply following the rules that were set up for this store. I feel that almost everything in the whole situation was blown out of proportion and simple casual conversation with positive intent would have produced a better outcome for all involved. The story makes you think about instances in your own life and how you could have handled them better and what you can take away from the experience.
Get Access