Sammy tends to put down other people even without reason. While admiring the girls, Sammy and Stokesie joke around, and Sammy tells the reader, “I forgot to say he thinks he’s going to be manager some sunny day, maybe in 1990 when it’s called the Great Alexander and Petrooshki Tea Company or something” (150). Sammy’s use of the phrase “he thinks” informs the reader that Sammy does not actually believe Stokesie will ever become manager. The second part of the sentence also shows how condescending Sammy is; “A&P” was published in 1962, so for Sammy to say that Stokesie will become manager “… maybe in 1990”, is essentially saying that it will never happen. There is no reason for Sammy to put down Stokesie’s ambition, especially considering that Sammy is, in that moment, on the exact same life path. In fact, Sammy himself realizes this, commenting, “Stokesie’s married … but as far as I can tell, that’s the only...
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...pt to get ahead. Moments after he quits, he tells the reader, “I look around for my girls, but they’re gone, of course” (152). The possessive “my” shows that Sammy feels as though he can claim these girls as his own even though he does not know them at all, exemplifying how he degrades others in order to elevate himself. This sentence also demonstrates how he feels that the world is unfair to him; by adding in the “of course”, the reader gains the sense that Sammy is not always lucky in life. All of this leads up to the last sentence: “… my stomach kind of fell as I felt how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter” (153). Even in his last words, Sammy is thinking about himself and the effect the world is going to have on him and him only.
William Harwood Peden (1964). The American Short Story. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 70. OCLC 270220.
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