A&P John Updike - Essay 2

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Almost everyone has ambitions and dreams that they want to attain sometime during their lifetime. One shared goal is making more money, but wanting and desiring something are very different things. While wanting to make more money is a modest goal, the real desire behind it is more security and freedom. The power of desire speaks to peoples' subconscious, influences their actions, and ultimately directs their lives, as is used by John Updike as a theme in his short story A&P. The narrator, Sammy, decides to quit his tedious job because he wanted a better life for himself, although initially it was only to impress a girl. In the short story A&P, John Updike uses the theme the power of desire to express a young man's (accidental) realization of his greater goals in life. Throughout the story, there is a major focus on Sammy's observations of others. Sammy is a young cashier at a grocery store whose personality reflects immaturity and insecurity. When three teenage girls enter the store, it is clear that all men are watching closely as they strut the store in bathing suits. The store is "right in the middle of town, and if you stand at our front doors you can see two banks and the Congregational church and the newspaper store and three real-estate offices" which lets us know that the store is in a conservative area, where bathing suits in public are definitely frowned upon. The girls become objects of desire as Sammy observes their every move. He feels the need to describe the three girls and sort of place himself on a pedestal as he judges them. His focus is solely on the girls and he makes a mistake ringing up a customer but he pawns it off like it was the woman’s fault for being a ‘’witch”. His co-worker, Stokesie plays with Sammy as they joke about how pretty the girls are. All of this playfulness and desire leads Sammy to ponder the thought that Stokesie is beneath him. He is only three years older and is already married with two kids. He starts to talk down...
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