Topics: John Updike, Short story, Girl Pages: 4 (1229 words) Published: December 5, 2012
Alice Fillingim

Professor Marissa McNamara

English 1102

2 October 2012

In the story, “A & P” by John Updike, Sammy leads a mundane life and is discontent with his surroundings. Sammy makes an immature decision by quitting his job and this will cause an unfortunate turn of events. Sammy’s honorable act goes unnoticed by Queenie, and the girls. He must bear the consequences of his immature actions. Sammy’s callowness, results from his impulsive and judgmental attitude towards all and his sexist views of women.

First of all, Sammy is judgmental towards his customers, co-workers, and his family. He refers to everyone as “sheep pushing their carts down the aisle” (312). Like sheep, they always stay in their herd and never stray. He is insinuating that this represents the customers never go outside the norm, and they blindly follow each other. Sammy also declares, “I bet you could set off dynamite in an A & P and the people would by and large keep reaching and checking oatmeal off their list…” (312). The critic M. Gilbert Porter feels, “ Sammy’s perception of the customers take are systematic and struggle for existence, which portrays an unyielding independent spirit of going against the norm” (1156).

Also, Sammy refers to Stokesie as a sheep in the herd, and just like his customers, he too is content with his surroundings. Sammy places judgment on McMahon, patting his mouth and sizing up their joints. Sammy becomes judgmental and irritated by McMahon for having lustful thoughts towards the girl’s he is unable to recognize the same reactions within himself. Sammy makes harsh judgments towards everyone not looking beneath the surface of who they are.

Sammy shows disrespect towards people of all ages throughout the story. His lack of respect is shown when a customer who he refers to as a fifty something woman, a witch whose feathers he must smooth before she snorts and leaves. M. Gilbert Porter states, “Sammy burdens himself...
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