A & P: A Character Analysis of Sammy Essay

A & P: A Character Analysis of Sammy Essay

Length: 747 words (2.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Good Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Bildungsroman, by definition, is a coming of age story. The word, of German origin,

translates in English as being a story that traces the spiritual, moral, psychological, or social development and growth of the main character from childhood to maturity. This is a prototype of John Updike's short story, "A & P," the protagonist, Sammy, is faced with a difficult dilemma, and comes to realize a universal truth about human behavior. Sammy comes to understand that the world is an unusual place and that irrational choices based on impulse are not the best way to solve personal issues.

The controversy between Sammy and his boss, Lengel, takes place one hot summer day in an A & P, located five miles from the local beach near Salem, MA. Three young ladies walk in wearing beach attire, consisting of nothing more than bathing suits. Just because these ladies have bathing suits on, which usually means that they are sexually desirable, does not mean that they are all mesmerizing. One of the girls is wearing a plaid green two-piece bathing suit. She is a chunky one with an enormous "can" (334). Sammy notices that she has a nice tan, except for the white creases outlining the bottom of her "can" (334). The second girl is described as being the girl who never quite makes it, which means that she is the ugly one of the trio. The third girl is the one to which Sammy is sexually attracted. Described as the "queen" of the group, Sammy notices that her bathing suit straps are down and between her stomach and neck is her monolithic chest representing a "dented sheet of metal" (334). Racing, raging hormones striving within Sammy take over his train of thought, and he is immediately lost in lust.

During the mid-to-late 60's, bik...

... middle of paper ...

...t is done, is done.

This short story makes a person think of all the Lengels in the world, the kind of person who just gets under the skin the second they open their mouth. Yes, there are many of them. However, Updike has displayed in his short story, "A & P," that to be the stronger person and to have a positive outlook through negative ordeals is a trait that is difficult to find within oneself. Sammy overcame the struggle within himself and is now a more honorable person, although he is jobless. Lengel is the best thing that ever happens to Sammy, because he now has an attitude, a voice, and -most of all- a broader frame of reference as to how society "operates."

work Cited

Updike, John. "A & P." Literature and the Writing Process. Ed. Elizabeth McMahan, Susan X Day, and Robert Funk. 7th ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice, 2005. 333-337.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Sammy: A Follower or a Leader Essay

- ... By giving us the full description he connects us-the readers- to the story. Seeing the herring jar, Queenie came to buy, Sammy automatic creates a difference of social status among them by telling us ” when my parents have somebody over they get lemonade and if it’s a real racy affair Schlitz in tall glasses with “They’ll Do It Every Time” cartoons stencilled on “ (Updike 20) making him more to be noticed, but in the same time he realizes that by being employee at A&P will never have a chance with Queenie, this did not stop him of being himself and fight for what he thinks is not right....   [tags: John Updike, A & P, short story analysis]

Good Essays
905 words (2.6 pages)

Analysis Of Flannery O ' Connor 's `` A Good Man Is Hard And Find `` Essay

- In Flannery O’Connor’s, “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, there are many ways that the elements of fiction were used. Some examples of these elements of fiction would be theme, character, and point of view. Some of the characters and themes foreshadow the death of the characters. Also various details were actually used in the story. The main element of fiction in this story would first be Point of View which is in third person. The grandmother’s viewpoint was the most important detail of the story that explains what eventually be the cause of her death....   [tags: Fiction, Character, Protagonist, Novel]

Good Essays
1010 words (2.9 pages)

Identifying Evil in Flannery O'Connor's A Good Man is Hard to Find Essay

- ... While the comment and words used are out dated by today’s standards it shows that she has never embraced the modern way of things, and again is more concerned with herself and her viewpoints, than that of her family members. As the trip continues they stop at a restaurant and met a couple of characters and the grandmother has a discussion with Red Sammy, the restaurant owner, about how good people are hard to find and how things have changed for the worse over time. Red Sammy actually names the story with his comment after telling about his encounter with a couple of fellows who talked him out of a tank of gas, “a good man is hard to find”(O’Connor, 43)....   [tags: story and character analysis]

Good Essays
2002 words (5.7 pages)

Character Analysis Apostle John Essay

- Character Analysis Apostle John John was a dedicated apostle of Jesus Christ. His adult life was dedicated towards serving Christ and his doctrines. From his time of appointment to the ascension of Christ, John was among the disciples chosen to spread the word of God. After the ascension of Christ, John continues with his service to Christ, spreading the word of God from Galilee, across borders to Greece. The paper will illustrate the various lessons that can be demonstrated through John’s life, preaching and service to Christ....   [tags: Character Analysis ]

Good Essays
2603 words (7.4 pages)

Analysis Of Short Story ' A & P ' Essay example

- Critical Analysis of Short Story “A &P” In the short story “A & P” by John Updike, the main character Sammy shows a sense of growth from the story’s opening to its conclusion. This certain change in him started taking place after the visit from the three girls, where he starts to ponder the future of his life. Sammy develops as a more prominent character both by the voice and the mood of the story, suggesting his vast change from rather flat to someone with more personal features and attributes....   [tags: Short story, John Updike, John Cheever]

Good Essays
1269 words (3.6 pages)

Maslow's Higherarchy of Needs Character Analysis Essay

- In Stephen Stondheim’s musical, Sweeny Todd, Sweeny Todd says, “These are desperate times, Mrs. Lovett, and they call for desperate measures.” Todd and Lovett decide to make and market meat pies. The catch to their plan is the meat will be human. Sweeny Todd focuses on the decisions people make in desperate times. While normally no mentally stable individual would consider making pies out of human meat, the characters feel they will be unable to conquer their financial situation by any other means....   [tags: Character Analysis ]

Good Essays
1673 words (4.8 pages)

Essay Analysis Of ' A & P ' By John Updike

- Maciej Szwoch Sandra Beuchamp Com 102 5/9/2016 title The environment of the modern day grocery store can be quite stressful. It is here, that people truly show their disposition. Its almost like the act of standing behind people equally as frustrated is a form of torture, and only then does the truth come out. The truth is, most people live boring lives, and this chore puts an emphasis on boredom. Most people tend to forget about one thing during this grueling experience, and that is the employee....   [tags: Antagonist, Protagonist, Similarity, 2016]

Good Essays
1260 words (3.6 pages)

Character Analysis: What Motivates Characters to Make Decisions Essays

- Many people are tempted and persuaded to act a certain way and make certain decisions. However, many people fail to recognize that every deal or decision comes with several consequences. The motivation to create a deal, which potentially has the capability to immensely alter a person’s life, seems to make perfect sense, until that person realizes the consequences that come along with that deal. In three different pieces of work, characters are motivated to make deals that at the time seem to be flawless; however, the characters come to find that sometimes their drive to get involved in the deal is not worth the consequences and overall outcome....   [tags: Character Analysis]

Good Essays
1327 words (3.8 pages)

Character Analysis: King Lear Essay

- The character King Lear represents an allegorical shift from the illiterate, Medieval Age to the literate, Renaissance Age. To illustrate this argument, King Lear needs to be read as a Renaissance play that occurred in a previous “imagined pagan time.” (Lawrence, Gods, 156) As a pagan king, Lear is seen in the realm of the Roman gods and their shame culture. The role of gods in Lear’s decision making are interwoven throughout the play as Lear tries to reconcile his humanity in relation to himself and the other characters, especially Cordelia....   [tags: Character Analysis ]

Good Essays
1594 words (4.6 pages)

Essay about Character Analysis: Ponni

- Authors tend to use readers’ perspectives to create a personality in a novel. This in turn generates a plot and which is revealed by actions, speech, thoughts, physical appearance, and the other characters’ thoughts or words about that personality. Characterization is often used with the intent to portray a different or new side to something through the thoughts and actions of a character. One such character is Ponni in The Dark Room by R.K. Narayan. Ponni is a villager, wife of a blacksmith, who rescues the protagonist, Savitri, as she is about to commit suicide....   [tags: Character Analysis ]

Good Essays
1104 words (3.2 pages)