A&P Character Analysis

Topics: John Updike, Short story, John Cheever Pages: 1 (387 words) Published: February 4, 2011
A & P

In the short story, “A & P,” John Updike’s character, Sammy, is a clerk at the A&P supermarket. His thoughts, language, and attitude throughout the story indicate he is a narrow-minded, cynical, typical teenager with a strong curiosity in the opposite sex and an extreme sense of detail. The A&P store is located right in the middle of a smaller type town, where everyone knew one another.

He interprets one customer as being old, dull and unable to relate to young people only because the customer was elderly, is an example of being cynical. Sammy’s intensive opinions and interpretations proved his lack of knowledge outside the small town. For example, he is disrespectful in his thoughts towards the “A & P” customers, seeing them as “sheep” and “houseslaves.” This is the part that it becomes obvious that he does not care about the customers and is unhappy at his job.

Sammy’s aspiration for Queenie, which begins simply as a young man’s attention in a pretty girl, ends up being why Sammy stood up to his boss and quit “A & P”. Sammy’s unhappiness with his job is shown throughout the whole story with his negative comments about the different people walking through the store. Sammy spoke of his manager having a very fine sense of observation, noting the manager didn’t like the way Sammy smiled. As the girls were leaving the store, Sammy had a vision of how happy he would be to be able to leave the store with them. Thinking quickly, Sammy decided to tell his boss he quit, saying in a loud like voice, hoping to be loud enough for the girls to hear him. After Sammy had said the words I quit there was no way to take back what he had said, it was a done deal, and he couldn’t back out from quitting now. Sammy quickly folded his apron laying it on the counter. Walking out to the parking lot, only to find the girls were gone. His effort of trying to be a hero to the girls by standing up to his boss was not a success. There here stood,...
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