The Power of Desire
Sometimes emotions can get the best of a person and decisions can be made that will later be regretted. In John Updike’s “A & P,” the main character, Sammy, is overwhelmed with feelings the moment a group of girls in bikinis walk into the grocery store he works at. These girls represent more to Sammy than just something to look at, they make him re-evaluate where he stands in life. He looks up to their lifestyle so much, he makes a life changing decision within just a few moments. Emotions always play a key role in life, however the emotion of desire can be very controversial due to the fact that what a person desires isn’t always the best for them. John Updike illustrates the power of desire through the outcome of choices and consequences, along with Sammy’s want for freedom and youth. Perhaps the most recognizable theme in “A & P” is the use of choices and consequences. The main character, Sammy, is a cashier at the local A & P grocery store who is put in a situation that may affect the rest of his life. Lengel, Sammy’s manager, refers to the girls lack of clothing as inappropriate for a grocery store, telling the girls that his store is “not the beach” and they needed to follow the store policy by having their shoulders covered. Sammy feels as though Lengel has disrespected and embarrassed these girls who are red in the face and in a rush to get out of the store. Somewhat aware to the upcoming consequences, Sammy makes a quick and painful decision to quit his job right then and there. Lengel, friends of Sammy’s mother and father, reminds him that he doesn’t want to do this to his parents. Sammy makes it clear that he doesn’t, but he is so caught up how Lengel embarrassed those girls he sticks with his decision and takes off his apron. Lengel tells Sammy, “You’ll feel this for the rest of your life,” (Updike 33). This is where Updike shows that although Sammy is very aware of the consequences, he continues to follow through as he...
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