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.
From the beginning of the story Updike "uses Sammy’s youth and unromantic descriptive powers" to show his immaturity and apparent boyish nature (Uphaus 373). We see this in the opening line of the story: "In walks three girls in nothing but bathing suits" (Updike 1026). Even the voice of Sammy is very "familiar and colloquial" (Uphaus 373). Much of the information that Sammy relays about the three girls is sexually descriptive in a nineteen-year-old boy’s way: "and a sweet broad looking can [rear] with those two crescents of white under it, where the sun never seems to hit" (Updike 1026). It is apparent that Sammy looks at the three girls who happen to walk into the A&P only as objects of lust or possibly boyish desire. Thus, on the surface it is easy to take this story as that of a boy who would do something like quit his job to "impress" these girls. It is even ...
... middle of paper ...
...omach kind of fell as I felt how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter" (Updike 1030). This was the day that Sammy grew up.
Greiner, Donald J. Short Story Criticism. Vol. 13 Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1991. 398-399.
Updike, John. "A&P." The Harper Anthology of Fiction. Ed. Sylvan Barnet. New York: HarperCollins, 1991.1026-1030.
Uphaus, Suzanne Henning. Short Story Criticism. Vol. 13 Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1991. 372-373.
Coffman, Kelly. "A Turning Point." Ode To Friendship & Other Essays. Ed. Connie Bellamy. Virginia Beach, 1997. 190-191.
Hatcher, Nathan. "Sammy’s Motive." Ode To Friendship . Ed. Connie Bellamy. Virginia Beach 1997. 188-189.
Luscher, Robert M. John Updike: A Study of the Short Fiction. New York: Twayne, 1993.
Uphaus, Suzanne. John Updike. N Y: Frederick Ungar, 1986.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- An Analysis of John Updike's A&P 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.... [tags: A&P Essays JOhn Updike Papers]
745 words (2.1 pages)
- Critical Analysis of John Updike's A&P John Updike's A&P provides numerous perspectives for critical interpretation. His descriptive metaphors and underlying sexual tones are just the tip of the iceberg. A gender analysis could be drawn from the initial outline of the story and Sammy's chauvinism towards the female. Further reading opens up a formalist and biographical perspective to the critic. After several readings I began seeing the Marxist perspective on the surreal environment of A&P.... [tags: John Updike A&P Essays]
806 words (2.3 pages)
- Sammy in A&P by John Updike Is where you are in your working career where you want to be for the rest of your life. The answer to that question is simple for Sammy in the story “A&P” by John Updike. Sammy, like many others in this world, is a young man trying to make some money in a small town. But unlike some, he refuses to be stuck in the same job for many years or possibly the rest of his life. One day while working the register at a local grocery store, Sammy notices three girls walk in.... [tags: A&P John Updike Working Careers Essays]
640 words (1.8 pages)
- John Updike's A&P In a small town everything is familiar and often taken for granted. In John Updike’s short story, A&P, the main character, Sammy, discovers a beauty unlike anything he has ever seen in his small town before. Queenie’s simple magnificence so stuns him that he quits his job in her defense. The narrator says: "Around they come, Queenie still leading the way, and holding a little gray jar in her hand. Slots Three through Seven are unmanned and I could see her wondering between Stokes and me, but Stokesie with his usual luck draws an old party in baggy gray pants who stumbles up with four giant cans of pineapple juice (what do these bums do with all that pineapple juice' I've... [tags: John Updike A&P Essays]
1029 words (2.9 pages)
- A Feminist Reading of A&P Gone are the days that humans could live impulsively, only taking physical pain and pleasure into account when making decisions. Or so one would like to believe. In a display of sheer innocence and ignorance, Sammy, a grocery clerk at the A & P, managed to revert back to the original behavior patterns of his ape-like ancestors. One cannot possibly predict the future of Sammy, given his own illogical and irrational behavior. But one can, through a careful examination of Sammy's life, determine that Sammy is just a naive, young man whose impulsive acts, partly as a consequence of his upbringing, compel him to participate in a cause not worth fighting for, instead o... [tags: John Updike A&P]
1320 words (3.8 pages)
- The Motif of Play in A & P In the short story "A & P" the author, John Updike, uses the motif of play as one of the main means by which he develops the character of Sammy, the nineteen-year-old narrator and protagonist of the story. In his many and varied references to play, Sammy reveals, along with his obvious immaturity, his rich imagination and potential for possible growth. The story takes place in the summertime of 1960 on a Thursday afternoon. Sammy is employed at the A & P grocery store located in the middle of a town north of Boston, about five miles from the beach.... [tags: John Updike A&P]
1066 words (3 pages)
- John Updike's story "A&P" talks about a 19-year old lad, Sammy, who has a job at the local grocery store, the A&P. Sammy works at the register in the store and is always observing the people who walk in and out each day. On this particular day that the story takes place, Sammy is caught off guard when a cluster of girls walk into the store wearing just their bathing suits. This caught Sammy's attention because the nearest beach is five miles away and he could not figure out why they would still be in their suits.... [tags: John Updike]
1531 words (4.4 pages)
- Interpretation of A&P This Story takes place in 1961, in a small New England town's A&P grocery store. Sammy, the narrator, is introduced as a grocery checker and an observer of the store's patrons. He finds himself fascinated by a particular group of girls. Just in from the beach and still in their bathing suits, they are a stark contrast, to the otherwise plain store interior. As they go about their errands, Sammy observes the reactions, of the other customers, to this trio of young women. He uses the word "Sheep" to describe the store regulars, as they seem to follow one and other, in their actions and reactions. The girls, however, appear to be unique in all aspects of their... [tags: John Updike A&P]
715 words (2 pages)
- Comparing Girl by Jamaica Kincaid and A&P by John Updike Within every story or poem, there is always an interpretation made by the reader, whether right or wrong. In doing so, one must thoughtfully analyze all aspects of the story in order to make the most accurate assessment based on the literary elements the author has used. Compared and contrasted within the two short stories, “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid, and John Updike’s “A&P,” the literary elements character and theme are made evident. These two elements are prominent in each of the differing stories yet similarities are found through each by studying the elements.... [tags: Girl Jamaica Kincaid A&P John Updike Essays]
1222 words (3.5 pages)
- Rebel Without a Clue in Updike’s A & P Adults always stress that it is important to make a good first impression. That is what Sammy was trying to accomplish in John Updike’s "A & P." Although some people believe that Sammy is a hero for standing up for his beliefs when he quit, there is conclusive evidence that he quit in an attempt to impress a girl he was obviously attracted to, Queenie. We know he is attracted to Queenie because he goes to great lengths to tell us what she looks like, what her mannerisms are, and the way that the other girls follow her.... [tags: Updike A&P Essays]
822 words (2.3 pages)