Before the girls enter the store, Sammy is unaware that the setting he is so judgmental of reflects his own life. Sammy feels that he is better than the rest of people at the A&P, referring to them as "sheep" and "house-slaves" because they never break from their daily routines. He also condescendingly talks about "whatever it is they[the
In the short story called "A & P" by John Updike, our main character Sammy is described as being a checkout clerk at the local grocery store. Sammy quits his job for many reasons. Sammy does not want to be referred as a "sheep", someone that follows, instead he wishes to do things on his own.
In John Updike's J and P, Sammy a hard working young man takes an easy decision that not only makes him lose his job, but change his life forever. Sammy who’s works as a cashier at a local grocery store. Is put in a situation where “three girls in nothing but bathing suits,”(Updike), walk in the store and aren't following the dress code. Unfortunately everyone was staring at them with disrespect; everyone but Sammy, who believes what Queenie and her friends were making a statement that shouldn't be overlooked. He wanted to stand up for the girls, but Sammy began to look at both sides of what
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. Sammy continues to overlook the girls in the store throughout their endeavor to pick up some item's that they were sent in for. While they are wandering around the store Sammy watches the reactions of other customers, is yelled at
Sammy, having heard enough of Lengel humiliating the girls, takes his heroic stand announcing that “he quit.” He even takes off his apron that had his name personally stitch on it and his bow tie. Another reason why Sammy quit the store probably gravitates toward Queenie and he may have wanted to talk to her, but Lengel ruined his chance by interfering. For example, Sammy said, "remembering how he made that pretty girl blush makes me so scrunchy inside I punched the No Sale tab.” He probably wanted to make Queenie blush by giving her compliments, but Lengel embarrassed her by making judgment due to her outfit and the situation definitely had an effect on Sammy since he punched the machine. Clearly, Sammy wanted the attention and was hoping the girls will give him some recognition for defending them, which became a lost cause and once he realized that his outburst didn’t attract the girls, his intentions changed. Sammy quit displaying that he’s becoming more independent as well as his transition to adulthood while at the same time defending the girls. It would also appear that he might’ve relied on his parents for some time. During the conversation between Sammy and Lengel before making his rash decision to quit, Lengel said, “Sammy, you don’t want to do this to your Mom and Dad,” implying that he will disappoint his parents if they quit because his parents are a friend of Lengel’s and they pretty much got Sammy the job at A&P. This shows that his parents’ efforts to get him the job would be a waste of time on
The short story “A&P” written by John Updike, is about three girls who change Sammy’s life. The three girls came from the beach and are not dressed properly to enter a grocery store called A&P. Sammy, the main character, is a check out clerk, and observes every detail about the girls. Sam even gives each of the girls a name. His favorite is “Queenie.” Sammy is obviously the type of guy who doesn’t get a lot of girls. Sam has a conflict of person vs. society. Because of his dead end job, obsession with Queenie, and his noble act to save the girls from embarrassment, Sammy has a conflict between himself and society.
Sammy quits his job meaning to impress the girls that his boss, Lengel embarrassed. The essential reason for that is because he does not believe Lengel, his boss should have embarrassed the three girls as he did. A moment before Sammy quits he has a discussion with his boss Langel, "You didn't have to embarrass them." "It was they who were embarrassing us." Their discussion exposes how Sammy felt by the actions and words of Lengel which later in the story causes him to quit his job. There were many sections of the story where the main character, Sammy shows how unappreciative he was of his bosses words and actions, which indicate that he did not really enjoy his workplace. For example, in the story it says "That's all right," Lengel said.
To begin with, Sammy shows a rude attitude through the story. He indicates little regard for other people’s age or knowledge. To illustrate, Sammy asserts the old aged customer, who reprimands Sammy for scanning her item two times while he is gawking at the girls, is “a witch about fifty … [who] would have burned her over in Salem” (Updike 320). Sammy’s despise toward this old lady—in fact shoppers—is perceptible. Also, when Sammy quits A&P, he talks discourteously to his manager Lengel. The readers soom comes to discover that Lengel is a friend of Sammy’s parents. Lengel attempts persude Sammy from making his rash decision, pointing out that he does not want to do to this to his
Sammy asserts his individuality when he quits. He knows that Lengel has every right, according to the standards of his time, to speak to the girls as he does. But by standing up for the girls, Sammy questions those standards and asserts that there is a higher standard of decency that says one should not embarrass others. In deciding which rules of conduct are more important, he asserts his individuality, unlike the girls who slink away because they know they have violated the rules of conduct.
When Sammy sees the store manager, Lengel, embarrass the girls, not only does Sammy see the ability to look heroic in front of his three mystery girls, like an "unsuspected hero" (Updike 618), he also sees the ability to get out of his boring nine to five job. Partially, because he is only nineteen and very immature in the way he views the world, he may have thought the girls would find him heroic. However, as soon as he quits his job
Although it turns his life to unordinary, Sammy views the girls as a refreshing and escaping scene for himself. He was used to seeing the regular, ordinary customers that he referred to as sheep. Something about the girls demeanor when entering “A&P” left Sammy with a inspirational, riving feeling. Porter later in his article discusses why he thought Sammy quit his job, which ultimately made his life change. He viewed it as Sammy making a gesture as both a statement towards the girls decency and a rejection of “A&P” and the misdirected values for which the store held. The action that Sammy made was an exaggerated result from his youth. His action does not diminish from the simple goodness of his chivalric intent, nor does it take away the importance of his personal commitment. Although Sammy knows that he will feel this for the rest of his life and that he separated himself from the flock and the “A&P” crowd. Sammy chose to set himself against the majority. But Sammy also understood that he could not start something and not follow through with it whether it made his life ordinary or not. Once Sammy realized that not to follow the voice of conscience is to be false to ones own integrity and would be living a lie, he chose to live an honest and significant life instead.
In “A&P”, John Updike uses compelling diction, language, and description to enhance the perspective of Sammy within the story and his final decision to quit his job. The use of imagery within the supermarket develops the environment Sammy worked in to a greater extent and painted diverse pictures of the customers. The derogatory descriptions of Lengel and some customers was also significant in terms of revealing Sammy’s emotions about his job at A&P. The nature of the situation with the girls and descriptive language of the customers and environment were also significant factors.A spontaneous effort to portray Sammy’s power and independence was a significant aspect Updike made more interesting by implementing dialogue, diction, and theme.
In a continuing attempt to reveal this societal conflict, Updike introduces the character of Lengel, the manager. He accosts the girls and starts to make a scene accusing them of being indecent: “‘Girls, I don’t want to argue with you. After this come in here with your shoulders covered. It’s our policy.’ He turns his back. That’s policy for you. Policy is what the kingpins want. What others want is juvenile delinquency” (Updike, 600). When the store manager confronts three girls in swimsuits because of their indecency (lack of proper clothes), they are forced to leave humiliated. At this moment Sammy makes the choice to quit his job in protest of the manager’s handling of the situation. In his mind, and arguably in John Updike’s mind, the standards of walking into a grocery store in a bathing suit and humiliating someone in front of other people are both unacceptable. This part of the story is pivotal for one main reason: a voice in the business community is speaking. As a manager at A & P, Lengel is the voice of The Establishment and guards the community ethics (Porter, 321). Queenie’s (the ringleader of the girls) blush is what moves Sammy to action. Here are three girls who came in from the beach to purchase only one thing, and this kingpin is embarrassing them in order to maintain an aura of morality, decency,
In the story Sammy works at an “A & P” grocery store as a clerk. Sammy is just an ordinary teenage boy who works at a grocery store in New England. It is Summer time and Sammy most likely has this job to help support his family. The story really kicks off when three girls come into the A&P grocery store, and they only have their bathing suits on. Sammy immediately takes notice to these girls and especially the leader “Queenie”. He also thinks she is the prettiest one. The girls came into the A&P looking for a jar of “Fancy Herring Snacks in Pure Sour Cream.” He carefully watches their every move, and is definitely interested in these girls.
However, when the girls were embarrassed by Lengel Sammy's personality changed. He stood up to his manager and quit his job. This is demonstrated in the dialogue between Sammy and Lengel which states: