A & P By John Updike Character Analysis

818 WordsNov 1, 20174 Pages
This story could make one wonder, how far would you go to get the person of your dreams. In Updike’s story, three young ladies walk into the A&P store wearing nothing but bathing suits. The girls catch the attention of Sammy who is the cashier. Sammy watches the girls walk around the store while making mental notes about each one of the girls. When Mr. Lengel the store manager sees the girls, he lets them know that the store policy is to have your shoulders covered and to dress appropriately when you enter the store. This conversation upsets Sammy, so in the moment Sammy spontaneously quits his job in hopes of being the girl’s hero. After Sammy takes off his apron and walks out the door he looks around, but the girls have already gone.…show more content…
“We want you decently dressed when you come in here” (Updike 145) Mr. Lengel stated. Queenie replies “We are decent,” (Updike 145), almost as if she was justifying her actions. This also shows the adolescent frame of mind. Sammy decides to stand up for what the thinks is right. “Outraged that his manager, Lengel, had made ‘that pretty girl blush’ and wanting to demonstrate his refusal of such demeaning authority, Sammy quits his job on the spot.” (Saldivar p2) Sammy thinks to himself, “The girls and who’d blame them, are in a hurry to get out, so I say ‘I quit’ to Lengel quick enough for them to hear, hoping they’ll stop and watch me, their unsuspected hero” (Updike 145). After Sammy makes it clear that he is quitting Lengel says, “Sammy you don’t want to do this to your Mom and Dad” (Updike 146). Sammy then takes off his apron and bowtie, he lays them on the counter as he is walking out the door Lengel barks, “You’ll feel this for the rest of your life” (Updike 146). Sammy then walks out of the store, he looks around for the girls, but they are already gone. Updike ends the story in a place that might make one wonder if Sammy did feel the effects of quitting this job for the rest of his life, and did he ever get the girl and end up the hero he intended to be? I believe that Saldivar summarizes it by saying “The modern artist knows that his human desired for completion, for perfection—which
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