Analysis Of John Updike's 'A & P'

Pages: 4 (945 words) Published: March 13, 2018


In paragraph 31 of “A&P” written by John Updike shows a young man named Sammy who makes the decision to quit his job. Though Sammy’s manager Lengel gives him the chance to carefully think about his decision and says “you’ll feel this for the rest of your life” (96), Sammy goes through with his plan and relinquishes his position at the A&P by giving back his uniform and tie. Through this action that was displayed by Sammy, we see his character transformation from being childish and immature to becoming more mature and refusing to conform to the society around him.
From the start of the story, as Sammy described the three girls at the store in full detail, you could get a sense that he was immature and somewhat sexist. Talking about the girls...

Paragraph 31 is where we see the change come to reality. He took initiative in his choice and knew the consequences of his decision and face it head on anyway. He makes this clear on page 96 when he says: “ it seems to me that once you begin a gesture it’s fatal not to go through with it.”
With his decision to quit his job, Sammy shows that he is not willing to conform to the society around him. The time set in this story shows that Sammy lived in a society where the only options for a boy his age would be to work, go to college or enlist in the army. It is also clear that Sammy lives in a small town where everyone knows everybody; he gives a hint of this when he says Lengel and his parents had been friends for years on page 96.
Through Sammy’s description of his manager Lengel and coworker Stokesie on pages 93 and 94, he makes it clear that he doesn’t want to be in their shoes a few years down the line. He describes Lengel as “dreary” (94), “old and gray” (96), while he describes Stokesie as 22-year-old married man with two kids. Looking at the two men’s lives Sammy knows that he doesn’t want that for his own life in the future. Seeing the three girls in the bikinis walk into the store made his feelings more clear to him. He admired that they did not conform to what the people around him usually dressed and behaved. Sammy getting to see the girls...

When my parents have somebody over they get lemonade and if it’s a real racy affair Schlitz in tall glasses with “They’ll Do It Every Time” cartoons stenciled on.” At this moment, Sammy compares his life to what could be the life of Queenie. The life that Queenie may or may not have is the life that he wants. A life that is different from everyone in his town. With this in mind, Sammy’s desire to escape this world of conformity, he takes his wants into consideration and quits his job in paragraph...
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