A and P: Story and Concept Analysis

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In John Updike’s “A & P”, he writes about a teenage boy, Sammy, who works in an A&P in a small town. Sammy makes a decision later towards the end of the story that has captivated many. A few are Karen Bernardo, N. Montague, and Corey Evan Thompson.

Bernardo’s concept of the story is the contrasts of current and previous worldviews. The two she state were “the conservative, conventional, and stoic (represented by Mr. Lengel) against the free-spirited, individualistic, and non-conformist (represented by the teenage girls). In her commentary she follows on with her opinion of Sammy being too a free-spirit, individualistic, and non-conformist. She states that the last line of the story is only hard in a sense of being that people like Sammy will have to face people like Mr. Lengel forever through-out the world and his life.

Montague’s concept of the story is that we all have our own reasons for doing what we do, but that everything we do does have a consequence. Whether or not that consequence is good or bad we will not know until it happens. Sammy’s act of quitting mostly falls into consequences of leaving both without the girls and without a job, but as Montague quoted Detweiler, it also leaves Sammy in a place to move even further into his life but with greater confidence and wealth.

Thompson’s concept of the story that of Sammy wanting to find a way out of his dead beat job, by using some legitimate reason that way his parents will not be all that disappointed him and his actions. By thinking of the girls as only tools to his resigning he only notices their physical features and not what is inside. Thompson believes that even though Sammy is considered a hero, because the story is spoken through first person, that he really is not a hero if looked at through a different view point.

In my opinion, I think Montague has the best idea of why Sammy did what he did. Sammy may not have been very smart with his idea of quitting to impress and get the...
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