Essay PreviewMore ↓
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.
How to Cite this Page
"Sammy Makes a Decision in John Updike's A&P." 123HelpMe.com. 28 Feb 2020
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Growth of Sammy in A&P 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. At the beginning of A&P, Sammy notices that three girls have walked into the store with only there bathing suits on.... [tags: A&P Essays]
945 words (2.7 pages)
- Sammy the Social Climber in A & P Men will go to extreme measures to impress women. This is the case in the story "A & P" written by John Updike. Sammy, who is a cashier at a supermarket, displays a classic example of a man trying to impress a woman. His rash decision to quit his job was a bad decision and will definitely have an adverse effect on him in the future. Sammy seems doomed from the very first sentence when he says, "In walks three girls in nothing but bathing suits" (Updike 1026).... [tags: A&P Essays]
823 words (2.4 pages)
- 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.... [tags: American Literature]
747 words (2.1 pages)
- In John Updike’s 1959 short story “A&P”, the protagonist, Sammy, makes an abrupt decision to quit his job as a cashier after his boss, Lengel, embarrasses a group of girls for being indecently dressed. Although the decision was unplanned, Updike makes it a point to inform the audience about Sammy’s negative and unpleasant outlook on his occupation. To do this, he illustrates some of the incidents that may have contributed to Sammy quitting his job, most of which are rather ironic and unusual. Sammy quit his job because he did not view it as a permanent occupation, he wanted to make an independent decision without the guidance of his parents, and he wanted to impress the group of girls that h... [tags: Short story, John Updike, Humiliation]
786 words (2.2 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)
- Sometimes, the insane choices some men make to gain a woman’s attention works in a way the opposite it was intended too. John Updike delivers an impeccable short story, which can be related to many men’s decisions’ in life. A & P is about a nineteen-year-old man, Sammy, who makes a decision late on in the story, which will haunt him for the duration of his life. For those of you who don’t know, A & P, also known as The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, is a supermarket and liquor store chain in the United States.... [tags: Short story, Fiction, John Updike, John Cheever]
1292 words (3.7 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)
- In John Updike’s story “A&P” a man named Sammy makes some galant life changing decisions. If it wasn’t for those three girls that walked into the A&P that day Sammy would still be sitting behind the the counter at the cash register debating what to do with his life. Sammy couldn 't take the disrespect his boss was giving the customers anymore. Sammy gained a lot of respect for the opposite sex because of his boss 's actions and how the three girls reacted to them, some of which made him a protagonist.... [tags: Respect, Virtue, Gain, Left-wing politics]
756 words (2.2 pages)
- 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 checkout 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.... [tags: essays research papers]
624 words (1.8 pages)
- John Updike's A&P Many of the events that take place in John Updike's "A&P" would not have happened had the town lived under a Marxist society. Marxism is a socio-economic ideal where all people work for the good of the community and is characterized by not having any social class distinctions. The division of Classes in "A&P" is very apparent, especially between Sammy, the protagonist and first person narrator, and the three girls, one of the three antagonists, who walk into the store during the exposition.... [tags: English Literature]
863 words (2.5 pages)
Sammy's character does change in the story. At first, he is bored and dull, no better than one of the "sheep" he makes fun of. Later, as he watches McMahon, the butcher, "Patting his mouth and looking after them, sizing up their joints" (14), Sammy begins to sympathize with the girls. Then when Lengel scolds the girls and falsely tells them that it's store policy that they have to have their shoulders covered, Sammy realizes, "That's policy for you. Policy is what the kingpins want. What the others want is juvenile delinquency" (15). He now identifies with the girls; he is one of the "others" who disagree with the kingpins. When Sammy makes his decision to quit, Lengel pretends not to understand him, forcing Sammy to reconsider. Sammy still decides to quit. He knows his grandmother would be proud of him for standing up for the girls. However, he does admit that trying to stand up for everyone who is mistreated will make his life hard from now on.
In "A&P," Sammy begins to mature. He is not yet fully an adult, but he has taken a step. Adult life means having to make decisions everyday, and then having to live with those decisions. This is the lesson Sammy has begun to learn in John Updike's story.