A & P Character Analysis

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Sammy’s Attachment

I think it’s safe to say that some men may do unpredictable and spur of the moment things in an attempt to impress a girl. That is the case in John Updike’s “A&P” when the main character Sammy makes an unreasonable decision to quit his job hoping that he’ll catch the attention of the girls who had just been scolded by his manager for wearing bathing suits in the super market. What could have driven him to quit his job for a couple of girls he’s never seen before in his life? There could be many possible explanations for Sammy’s actions with the most likely one being that his strong attraction to the girls caused him to believe he must choose between the girls or the job.

From the moment they caught his eye entering the store he was swept into a daze. He watched them as they moved about the store giving descriptions of each individual girl. Queenie was the girl he pegged as the leader of the group. “She just walked straight on slowly, on these long white prima dona legs” (Updike). He took a special liking to Queenie and noted how it appeared as if the others were following her lead. The reason these girls caught his eye wasn’t necessarily because of their looks but more so what they were wearing. They strolled into the super market wearing nothing but bathing suits. They didn’t even have shoes. “Our town is five miles from a beach…and the women generally put on a shirt or short or something before they get out of the car into the street” (Updike). Had these girls been properly dressed for the setting Sammy may have seen them as any other teenage girls in the store, but their attire sucked him in like it may to many people of his age. Sammy immediately begins to describe the girls in a sexual manner, which again most likely has to do with the way they were dressed. The first description of the girls is of one he calls “chunky” who has “a sweet broad soft-looking can with those two crescents of white just under it” (Updike)....
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