Sammy’s immature behavior is predominant throughout the short story in multiple occasions. He is judgmental
Going against the norm almost always brings trouble. Much more so when the norms relate to gender in our society. From our formative years straight up to adulthood, society upholds certain distinct expectations of behaviors both male and females. Young men and woman are thus expected to follow and fit into these gender roles that are meant to guide and govern their behavior. The theme of gender and gender roles can be examined in the short story, “A & P”, written by John Updike. Through examination it can be seen that various characters go against the expected gender roles of that time period. Specifically the main character and narrator of Sammy. It is through the analysis of Sammy’s behavior that we discover what happens when you go against
As the student begins his essay, he points out that Sammy is part of the lower class structure. He is an “eighteen-year-old boy who is working as a checkout clerk in an A&P in a small New England town five miles from the beach” (2191). While working an afternoon shift on Thursday, he notices “these girls in nothing but bathing suits” (2191) enter the store. It is in this scene that the student begins to identify the differences between the group of girls and Sammy.
Every human being has their own perception, which creates a unique way in which they see the world and the people that surround them. Additionally, the perception of most people is influenced by life experiences, interactions with other people and individual knowledge about the world. With that being said, is openly understood that Sammy, in the story “A & P”, has quite a banal perception of the world and the people around him that reveals his lack of maturity, knowledge, and experience in life. However, more importantly, is that Sammy’s perception, described by the way he portrays, speculates, and judges the other characters in the story, is clearly impacted by the way he places them into social categories and dehumanizes them.
Two stories are brought together “A&P” and “Gryphon” to represent the struggles that every character faces. Sammy the main character in “A&P”, and Tommy the main character in “Gryphon” face a struggle that will put them to the test. For Sammy the struggle is, should he stand up to his boss and defend the girls or should he let it go. Tommy faces the conflict of, does he believe the substitute teacher and defend her against everyone else or does he follow what everybody else is doing. In their stories, Tommy and Sammy are put up against a conflict that they have never seen before, and their “job” is to decide what they should do and how they should approach the problem.
In his short story "A & P" John Updike utilizes a 19-year-old adolescent to show us how a boy gets one step closer to adulthood. Sammy, an A & P checkout clerk, talks to the reader with blunt first person observations setting the tone of the story from the outset. The setting of the story shows us Sammy's position in life and where he really wants to be. Through the characterization of Sammy, Updike employs a simple heroic gesture to teach us that actions have consequences and we are responsible for our own actions.
As people age, maturity and wisdom is gained through every experiences. From the time a child turns eighteen and becomes an adult, they are required to deal with the realities of the real world and learn how to handle its responsibilities. In John Updike's short story, "A&P", the protagonist Sammy, a young boy of nineteen, makes a drastic change to his life fueled by nothing more than his immaturity and desire to do what he wants and because of that, he has do deal with the consequences.
People often take their place in society for granted. They accept that position into which they are born, grow up in it, and pass that position on to their children. This cycle continues until someone is born who has enough vision to step out of his circle and investigate other ways of life in which he might thrive. One such person is embodied in the character of Sammy in A&P, by John Updike. Sammy is the narrator of the story and describes an incident in the store where he encounters a conflict between the members of two completely different worlds the world that he was born into and the world of a girl that captures his mind. Through his thoughts, attitudes, and actions, Sammy shows that he is caught between the two worlds of his customers at the A&P.
At first glance, Sammy, the first-person narrator of John Updike's "A & P," would seem to present us with a simple and plausible explanation as to why he quits his job at the grocery store mentioned in the title: he is standing up for the girls that his boss, Lengel, has insulted. He even tries to sell us on this explanation by mentioning how the girls' embarrassment at the hands of the manager makes him feel "scrunchy" inside and by referring to himself as their "unsuspected hero" after he goes through with his "gesture." Upon closer examination, though, it does not seem plausible that Sammy would have quit in defense of girls whom he quite evidently despises, despite the lustful desires they invoke, and that more likely explanations of his action lie in his boredom with his menial job and his desire to rebel against his parents.
Two Works Cited In John Updike’s "A & P," Sammy is accused of quitting his job for childlike, immature reasons. Nathan Hatcher states, "In reality, Sammy quit his job not on a matter of ideals, but rather as a means of showing off and trying to impress the girls, specially Queenie" (37), but Sammy’s motive runs much deeper than that. He was searching for a sense of personal gain and satisfaction. By taking sides with the girls, he momentarily rises in class to meet their standards and the standards of the upper-class.
"A & P" is told from Sammy's point of view. Sammy presents himself as a nonchalant and flippant young man. He appears to be somewhat contemptuous of the older people shopping in the store. However, near the end of the story, we see that he does take responsibility for his conscience-driven behavior and decision, revealing his passage out of adolescence into adulthood through the courage of his convictions.
William Peden once called John Updike’s “A&P” “deftly narrated nonsense...which contains nothing more significant than a checking clerk's interest in three girls in bathing suits” (Peden). While Peden’s criticism may be harsher than necessary, it is hard to find fault with his analysis. Sammy’s tale offers little more than insight into an egocentric and self-motivated mind, and while Updike may disagree with that conclusion, a close reading of the text offers significant evidence to support this theory. In “An Interview with John Updike”, Updike describes how Sammy quit as a “feminist protest” (153). However, I would argue that Sammy’s act of defiance was selfishly motivated and represents his inner struggle with his social class as demonstrated through his contempt for those around him and his self-motivated actions.
John Updike gives the reader an inside look into the adolescent mind of Sammy, which give the reader a better understanding of his personality. All of these literary devices enhance the meanings of the story's symbols as the boy's personality and view of his world move from content, to admiration, to resignation. Sammy, the first person narrator, plays an essential role in portraying an in depth viewpoint of the story. His portrayal of a typical teen working in a dead-end job, his thoughts and feelings are very obvious in the story "A & P."
Lastly, both conflicts relate to the uncertainty of Sammy’s life and the uncertainty is his future. The conflicts are a keystone in a teenager life whether to be their parents, or to be their own self in this case, he deciding whether to take the beaten path. From these conflicts he becomes less caring towards his parents thoughts of his job because having these conflicts are not worth it and he better off leaving. Ultimately, by leaving the A&P is the unpredictable path, which Sammy’s seems to have no rejects because its better to keep moving forward than going
The main character in A&P, Sammy, is a perfect portrayal of a byronic hero. Sammy has a deep seeded internal crisis within him, there are some pretty girls in the A&P, and he acts the only way he knows how, with a grand gesture. His unseen act of heroism, although it falls flat, marks his over romainitism of the peril they were truly in atv the moment. He is proving to no one that he is fearless and a rebel against mainstream society despite having no reason. He ,like many overzealous teenagers, is a rebel without a cause. Miss Brill on the other hand is classified as the other. Her loneliness and isolation from society prompt her into denial about her status. She sees herself as someone of great power and importance, like someone in a play.