A & P by John Updike - Essay

Topics: Short story, Bow tie, Hero Pages: 2 (751 words) Published: October 26, 2012
Abby Dester

Mr. Sheldon

English II


Small Town Hero

In his short story "A & P" John Updike focuses on a 19-year-old immature teen to show us how a young boy gets one step closer to adulthood, or atleast thinks he does. Sammy, who is an A & P checkout clerk, talks to the reader with blunt first person observations, which sets the tone of the story from the beginning. The setting of the story shows us Sammy's position in life and where he really wants to be. Through the characterization of Sammy, Updike uses a simple heroic symbol to teach us that actions have consequences and we are responsible for our own. Sammy is a 19-year-old boy showing off a cocky but cute male attitude. He describes three girls entering the A & P, which sets the tone of the story. "In walk these three girls in nothing but bathing suits. There was this chunky one, with the two piece-it was bright green and the seams on the bra were still sharp and her belly was still pretty pale...there was this one, with one of those chubby berry-faces, the lips all bunched together under her nose, this one, and a tall one, with black hair that hadn't quite frizzed right...you know the kind of girl other girls think is very "striking" and "attractive" but never quite makes it' ... She was the queen with "long white prima-donna legs."(85) Completely distracted by the girls, Sammy rings a box of HiHo crackers twice, maddening the customer. He describes her as being " One of these cash-register-watchers, a witch of about fifty with rouge on her cheekbones and no eyebrows, and I know it made her day to trip me up," sarcastically showing his opinionated attitude toward women. We learn about Sammy's location in life through the setting of the story. He is not a big time war hero or superstar but a checker at a small town A & P, not moving up in his job or down, simply staying put. The town is located north of Boston, five miles from a beach, with a summer colony on the Point. Sammy...
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