John Updike: a&P

Topics: Boy, "I Quit" match, Woman Pages: 2 (462 words) Published: February 17, 2011
A&P: John Updike
The setting of this story takes place during summer in a convenient store, A & P Store. The narrator Sammie, a young boy who works as a cashier in the store, seems to be bored with how his life is lining up. Sammie seems to have little enjoyment and with poor affect while working an ordinary job. Little did he know that today would be the day that would change his self from here on out. The name, “Queenie”, Updike uses for one of the girls is the symbol that gives Sammie the courage to express his greatness in the climax of the story.

As three girls walk into the convenient store in only bathing suits, all attention of the male employees are geared toward them. Sammie, in particular, charged a woman twice for an item because he was starring at the girls. The woman seemed to have been proud for finally catching a mistake at the register from a cashier. Sammie calls her, “one of these cash-register-watchers” (734). He goes into describing each of the three girls. First about their bathing suits, then about their physique, and last about what each of the personality traits he assumed were. He states a feeling of guilt for the girls putting them out there to be looked at. “Poor kids, I began to feel sorry for them, they couldn’t help it” (735). The tall, slender girl referred to as Queenie keeps Sammie intrigued. He said she seems to be the other two girls’ leader. It seems that Queenie was someone he wanted to follow because of her natural calmness and sense of confidence that she exuded.

When the store owner, Langel, arrives back in the store from sorting produce from shipment, he immediately notices the three girls waiting to checkout with only bathing suits on. He rambles on about store policy and how this is not the beach. Sammie felt sorry once again for the girls with the way the owner was embarrassing them. This foreshadows how Sammie felt in the earlier part of the story. As the girls’ begin to leave the store, Sammie turns to...
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