Changes (John Updike's "A&P")

Topics: John Updike, The Normal, "I Quit" match Pages: 3 (911 words) Published: February 28, 2013
English 1302.2E1

Breaking away from the traditional is a struggle that contains several sacrifices and consequences. In John Updike’s “A&P,” Sammy is a young teenager who transforms his wishes into reality. At first glance, he seems like a normal teenage boy, but instead he is an observational character who is trying to find a way to stand up for himself. Throughout the story, he undergoes changes to reveal a different outlook for his future. Sammy demonstrates that he is a dynamic character through his views on the regular customers, his reaction to the girls, and in his decision to quit his job.

First, the way Sammy sees the regular customers reveals that he is a dynamic character. In the beginning, Sammy is at the cash register checking out a “witch about fifty with rouge on her cheekbones and no eyebrows” (Updike 18). The reader can tell Sammy has strong perspective on the customers that come in to the store. He sees them as disgusting, evil, lifeless and dead by the descriptions he gives the audience.  As the story continues, Sammy looks down the lane and notices “the sheep pushing their carts down the aisle— [while] the girls were walking against the usual traffic” (20). The girls’ unorthodox direction represents Sammy noticing that the customers are followers-- not wanting to break the cycle like the girls. From the description Sammy gives, the reader notices that he does not want to be like the customers, following the same rules, guidelines, and policies. By the end of the story, the girls are stopped by Lengel, the manager, when they reach the check-out lanes. The customers that were showing up, “like sheep, seeing a scene,” crowded around Stokesie’s lane to avoid any confrontation that was happening out of the usual (22). Sammy’s way of describing what the regular customers would do in a tough situation makes him wonder if this is the type of life he...
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