A & P By John Updike

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Sammy, the teenage cashier in John Updike’s A&P is a seemingly quiet character. He seems to put up with his boss, Langel, make conversation with his co-worker Stokesie, and deals with sheep for customers every day on the job. On the outside looking in he seems like an average teenager in the 1950s, but inwardly despises and questions the society around his life. It seems that he will never speak his mind. That is, until one day when three girls his age walk into the A&P grocery store in bathing suits. This small change in routine is enough to throw Sammy off and change his life from hereafter. A&P tells the story of an average day working at the grocery store for Sammy. Enter three girls, with no names given in bathing suits, except for one Sammy coins as Queenie. The male cashier’s thoughts instantly drift to these lovely ladies as he describes their bodies in detail. “There was this chunky one, with the two-piece—it was bright green and the seams on the bra were still sharp and he belly was still pretty pale so I guessed she just got it (the suit)—there was this one with one of those chubby berry-faces, the lips all bunched together under her nose, this one, and a tall one, with black hair that hadn’t quite frizzed right, and one of these sunburns right across under the eyes, and a chin that was too long—you know, the kind of girl other girls think is very “striking” and “attractive” but never quite makes it, as they very well know, which is why they like her so
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