When three girls in bathing suits enter an A & P, the life of a cashier named Sammy is changed forever. In John Updike’s "A & P," Sammy seems to be a teenaged boy who makes an irrational decision to quit his job to impress some girls, but Sammy’s actions are much deeper than that. This story is not necessarily about Sammy taking a stand for the three girls in the A & P, but it’s really about Sammy taking a stand in his own life. If the reader really analyzes the character of Sammy, they will see that he was looking for personal gain and self-assurance. Sammy’s disrespectful attitude can be clearly seen when Updike wrote “You never know for sure how girls' minds work (do you really think it's a mind in there or just a little buzz like a bee in a glass jar?)”(Updike 734). When Sammy takes sides with the girls, he is choosing to rebel against the policy making society.
Most readers would probably think Sammy is just a boy with a boring job, who gets so infatuated by a girl that he nicknames “Queenie” that he makes a poor life changing decision. However, the names he gives all three of the girls that enter the A&P are very critical and condescending. In a sense Sammy seems almost like he looks down on the girls. There is an obvious admiration for the girls but not necessarily a vanity based admiration. On some level Sammy probably gets his admiration for Queenie’s free, independent, and rebellious spirit confused with infatuation of her beauty. Queenie is attractive in the story, but Sammy seems awestruck and in complete shock of everything about her including the way she carries herself. The way she carries herself is important to him obviously because he named her “Queenie”. The girls did not care what anyone thought, and their attitudes were refreshing to Sammy. The girls had been youthful and beautiful. At the beginning of the story Sammy’s thoughts about one of the girl’s legs are interpreted as a “witch about fifty with rouge on her cheekbones and no... [continues]
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