Through the Eyes of a Teenager in A & P, A Short Story by John Updike

Good Essays

Teenagers often find themselves going through the motions of doing what they are told when they are told to do it. In conforming to societies norms teenagers begin to feel as if they blend in and nothing is really special about them. John Updike was able to write a coming of age story in which his main character Sammy gets shoved into adulthood rather quickly over spontaneous decision. Through Sammy’s thoughts, intense observations, and his actions we are able to see his deep depravity and his longing to stand out from the crowd.
Sammy is just the normal average teenage boy that works at his town’s local A&P store. From the beginning of the story we are able to see that Sammy is very opinionated, sarcastic, and has a keen observational …show more content…

He is equally dismissive of his coworker Stokesie, whom Sammy sarcastically presents as an unimaginative drone.
The irony of Sammy’s sense of superiority throughout the story is that he realizes that, in the eyes of Queenie, he must seem just like every one else in the store. His sole desire to set himself apart from the to prove that he is different from the rest, leading him to quit his job. We start to see he desire to be more then who he truly is by his subtle hints he gives out as he observes the girls. On example, is when Queenie talks about picking up Herring snacks, we see Sammy slip into a day dream of how marvelous it would be to join in on her families parties. Only to bash his own family down by saying, “When my parents have somebody over they get lemonade and if it’s real racy affair Schlitz in tall glasses….” (Updike 21) showing his deep desire to live an elegant and sophisticated life. Sammy resents his parents for not being able to give him a life of riches. Although his parents try hard to give him a good life but getting him the job at A&P, Sammy still doesn’t think its good enough and he wishes he could live a fun care free life.
Sammy makes this resolution near the end of the story, as Lengel tries to dissuade him from quitting his job. The true problem that lies here is Sammy’s deep desire to stand out from the crowd. Sammy thinks that it would be “fatal”(Updike 23) for him not to complete the gesture of quitting over Lengel’s

Get Access