Characterization And Irony In John Updike's A & P

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In the short story, “A & P” John Updike uses characterization and irony to portray Sammy, the main character, as a young individual who struggles with morality and lust. Women dressed in inappropriate clothing causes Sammy’s morals to shift and ultimately leads him to quit his job.
The author, John Updike, uses characterization to expose Sammy’s true character. Sammy is baffled that the store manager, Lengel, would embarrass the girls in front of everyone. In their defense he stands up to Lengel and scolds him for rebuking the girl’s outfit choices. After the girls leave he then quits his job. When he quits the manager even warns him that “[he’ll] feel this for the rest of [his] life”, but Sammy follows through with his plan. Although he does
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Sammy has a good head on his shoulders, but he ends up making the mistake of adjusting his morals and ideals in order to justify his lustfulness towards the women in skimpy bikinis. Sammy struggles with the common battle of good versus evil, and right versus wrong. He knows he should not be lusting after women, but he partakes in it anyway. He spends all this time observing every detail and even starts to imagine the lives of these women. The audience would suspect that Sammy is a supporter of respecting women and women’s rights by some of his actions. He even becomes flustered when the store manager confronts the girls in front of everyone over their appearances. However, Sammy refers to some female customers as “houseslaves in pin curlers”. It is ironic that he degrades some women in this way, while he is engrossed on others. Sammy contradicts himself through his actions. This reveals that Sammy is a young man who is struck by lust. He does not realize that the women he idolizes is on the same platform as the women he mocks for their gender related roles. He is bending his morals and ideals on women to make sure the women he marvels at get the good end of the stick. The young, attractive women, which he puts on a pedal stool, are equivalent to the average, everyday housewives. Both sets of women deserve respect and he is only giving it to the ones that fits his visual

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