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A&P Analysis

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Philip Ghiloni 2/13/13 English Section 9 A&P Analysis This short story takes place in 1961, in a small New England grocery store. Sammy, the narrator is a unique store clerk who is utterly fascinated by a group of girls who visit the store. The girls come right off the beach in their bathing suits to give Sammy a distraction for the day. He uses the word “sheep” to describe the store regulars, as they seem to follow one another in their actions and reactions. “The sheep pushing their carts down the aisle the girls were walking against the usual traffic(not that we have one way sign or anything) were pretty hilarious.” (85) In “A&P” John Updike, using Sammy as the narrator, reveals Sammy’s childlike, immature qualities, but also his…show more content…
“The whole store was like a pinball machine and I didn’t know which tunnel they’d come out of. After a while they came around out of the far aisle, around the light bulbs…” (85) Sammy continues to be fascinated with the girls but it is a dual situation. The girls are trying to impress Sammy as well. By appearing in the store clad only in bathing suits, they vie for attention. “I wonder where the money is coming from, still with that prim look she lifts a folded dollar bill out of the hollow at the center of her nubbed pink top. The jar went heavy in my hand. Really, I thought that was so cute.” (86) It’s not Sammy that wants the girls to know that he likes them, it’s the girls that want Sammy to know they like him. Girls occasionally want all the attention they can get, while not being honest about their true intentions. But then the story shifts and all the attention the girls get from Sammy suddenly turns around. A situation occurs where Sammy seems to grow up due to the way Lengel the store manager treats the girls. Lengel publically embarrasses them because they entered the store barefoot and dressed only in their bathing suits. Sammy said, “You didn’t have to embarrass them.”Lengel said, “It was they who were embarrassing us.”(88) This exchange between Sammy and Lengel shows their conflicting principles. Lengel sees the girls as being disrespectful and thinks they are purposely violating the
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