Character Analysis "A&P" by John Updike

Topics: Short story, John Updike, Walking Pages: 3 (995 words) Published: September 13, 2010
Kristopher Brown
English II, Maciel
Essay 2~Short Story, Character Analysis
26 February 2010
“How to Know When to Stand Up for What You Believe”
In the short story “A&P” by John Updike, Sammy, the main character, finds himself in the middle of a situation he believes is being taken care of improperly. He is a young man who is just beginning to learn how to deal with difficult situations on his own. He seems to enjoy working at the place where his parents got him the job and finds himself very intrigued by analyzing the people who walk into his work. Sammy has a lot to learn about life, and this experience is just one of the many stepping stones he has to take in figuring out how to deal with tough situations.

Sammy is a nineteen year old boy who is just trying to figure out his place in this world. He is a clerk at a supermarket where his parents were able to get him the job. He finds himself standing behind the cash register entertained by analyzing the people who walk in trying to figure out what is going on in their minds. He stands up for what he believes, but just hasn’t quite figured out how or when to confront a person when he finds himself disagreeing with them.

More specifically Sammy finds himself analyzing these three girls who walk into the supermarket one day in their bathing suits. Now keep in mind this story took place in 1961 so it was not very appropriate to be walking around a supermarket in nothing but a bathing suit. Sammy was intrigued by watching and analyzing the behaviors of these girls; as was another clerk, Stokesie. As Sammy said, “you never know for sure how girls’ minds work” (260). As the story goes on Sammy tries to analyze what is really going on in each of these girls’ minds. Such as he had decided that this one in the dirty-pink-beige bathing suit was the “queen”. As Sammy says, “She was the queen. She didn’t look around, not this queen, she just walked straight on slowly, on these long white prima-donna legs”...

Cited: Updike, John. “A&P.” Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing. 7th ed. Ed. Laurie G.
Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell. Boston: Wadsworth, 2009. 259-64.
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