Sammy Makes a Decision John Updike's short story "A&P" is about a teenager who has to make a serious decision. The story is set in an A&P supermarket in a town north of Boston, probably about the year 1960. As the plot unfolds, Sammy changes from being a thoughtless and sexist boy to being a young man who can make a decision, even though it might hurt him. Sammy tells us he is nineteen years old. He is a check-out clerk in the local A&P, where the boss, Lengel, is a friend of Sammy's parents. Sammy does not seem to like his job very much. He calls one of his customers a "witch" and says the other customers are "houseslaves" and "sheep." He himself comes from a middle-class family. When they have a party, he says, they serve "lemonade and if it's a real racy affair Schlitz in tall glasses with 'They'll Do It Every Time' cartoons stencilled on" (15). In addition, Sammy is sexist. He gives long, loving descriptions of the girls who cause all the trouble, and he thinks at first that girls may not even have minds, asking, "do you really think it's a mind in there or just a little buzz like a bee in a glass jar?" (13) However, he does change as the plot goes on. The plot of the story deals with three girls who come into the store dressed only in bathing suits. They make their entrance in the very first sentence, and they complicate Sammy's life. At first, Sammy, his older friend Stokesie, and McMahon the butcher all look at the girls lustfully. But of them all, only Sammy enjoys the entertainment the girls bring. The other shoppers crash their carts, look stunned, and are suddenly jarred out of their everyday routine. Sammy, who seems bored with his job, finds the change amusing. He even begins to feel sorry for the girls when everyone else stares at them lustfully. The plot's major conflict occurs late in the story when Lengel, the manager, comes in and scolds the girls. Sammy knows that they are on their way out of the store, but Lengel has to yell at them and make them feel bad.
"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.
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.
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.
Researching John Updike’s story, "A&P", I found many readers agreed that the main character Sammy is viewed as a hero or martyr for quitting his job at an A&P store in a northern beach town. I did, however, find that critics disagreed on why Sammy quit. Initially it appears that Sammy quits his job to impress girls who were reprimanded for wearing bathing suits in the A&P. Sammy did not ultimately quit his job to be the hero for three girls who happened to walk into this A&P. This is not just a story about a nineteen-year-old guy trying to impress a group of girls by quitting his job, but it is also a story describing in detail the day this nineteen-year-old realizes that sometimes, in the transition from boyhood to adulthood, one must take a stand and ultimately follow through with this affirmation of adulthood.
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.
The story explained how the appearance of the girls affects the community. “The sheep pushing their carts down the aisle – the girls were walking against the usual traffic (not that we have one-way signs or anything) – were pretty hilarious. You could see them, when Queenie 's white shoulders dawned on them, kind of jerk, or hop, or hiccup, but their eyes snapped back to their own baskets and on they pushed. (Updike, A&P) This shows that in the small town that if you dressed outside of what society deems socially acceptable you would draw unwanted attention. The regular shoppers were all the same and the girls coming in created a disruption that was not normal in this part of town. It added a sense of rebellion and took away the perpetuating cycle of boredom and lack of excitement that Sammy and all the customers were used to at the A&P. This is still relevant in today’s society. Although society as a whole is more accepting of less modest clothes, it finds certain appearances with a unique kind of awareness.
The story begins as if it is any mundane workday at the A&P. Sammy is a typical teen, making sarcastic comparisons of the customers in the grocery store. He calls one of his customers a "witch" and says the other customers are "house slaves" and "sheep." Sammy obviously dislikes the job, but finds ways of passing the day. However, from the moment the three girls enter the A&P to their exit from the store, you can see dramatic changes in Sammy. Sammy lusts for the young girls, and nicknames the most attractive to him as “Queenie”. The young girls dressed in bathing suits fascinate him, and although he is staring at them excessively, he negatively comments on the others for doing the same. As the girls walk past the older employee, McMahon, Sammy notices how he ogled the girls and pats his mouth. Sammy appears disgusted by his gesture and begins to sympathize for the girls. “Poor kids, I began to feel sorry for them, they couldn’t help it" (Upd...
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.
Also, In a study conducted by www.cdc.gov, youth who begin drinking before the age of 15 are 15 percent more likely to develop an addiction later in life. This can be extremely dangerous, because the more you drink, the more dependent you become. It can be extremely difficult to get rid of addictions and has severe withdrawal symptoms that could be very painful. Another effect of underage drinking is low self esteem. Many teens begin drinking because they are very easily pressured by peers. This can cause them to at first feel more confident and have higher self-esteem. Soon, however, this will wear off and they may be left with a worse feeling than before. Similar to psychological disorders, alcohol abuse can lead to many social
Education is an extremely important part of the treatment of teen age alcoholism. Teens rarely understand the dangers of drinking alcohol. They need to be educated about the health risks they face when they drink. Because teens tend to feel they are invincible, they sometimes do not feel these risks apply to them. Sometimes speaking with another teen that has experienced serious health problems related to drinking can help. (learn about alcohol, 2010, p.1)
Sammy’s Sophomoric Adolescent Transition into Adulthood The transition from childhood to adulthood is not only a physical challenge but, psychological and socially exhausting. John Updike who wrote “A & P” recognized this and used it characterize the main character. The protagonist Sammy was developed around the concept of the journey into adulthood. Sammy is a nineteen years old boy who works at the A&P grocery store in a small New England town. It is not until three young girls walk into the store in just their bathing suits that Sammy is faced with the realization that he undoubtedly has to face the harsh truth of growing up.
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.
In "A&P" Sammy changes from an immature teenager to a person who takes a stand for what he believes is wrong which is reflected in Sammy's words and actions. This paper is composed of three paragraphs. The first paragraph deals with the immature Sammy, the second concentrates on Sammy's beginning his maturing process, and the last focuses on his decision to take a stand no matter what the consequences are.
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”.
Authors’ use of setting and point of view greatly affect a narrative because they form the readers’ image of the story. First person narration can cause questioning of the narrators reliability, but this bias view can help create more intimacy between the protagonist and the reader. A third person point of view is more objective and allows the author to create the voice of the narrative; the author shapes the story. Through whichever point of view, the author develops a setting. Setting provides tone for the story. A well-established setting can enhance the story’s overall meaning. The combination of setting and point of view in John Updike’s “A&P” helps develop the story’s emphasis on conformity versus nonconformity. Likewise, setting and