Preview

Morality from Different Perspectives in a&P by John Updike

Powerful Essays
Open Document
Open Document
1719 Words
Grammar
Grammar
Plagiarism
Plagiarism
Writing
Writing
Score
Score
Morality from Different Perspectives in a&P by John Updike
What does it take to behave morally and ethically? Do all people know what morality is and how it can be measured? Certainly, every single person has his or her own set of moral ideas and concepts of right and wrong. Consequently, various people may understand morality differently. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, morality is conformity to ideals of right human conduct. [1] In this research paper I would like to prove that morality can be seen differently for a different person under the same circumstances. I have based my research on a story "A&P" written by John Updike. Though “A&P” is a short story, it definitely has a very deep message. Personally, I believe that John Updike’s writing speaks about moral concepts and decency. Christian writer C.S. Lewis has said, “If no set of moral ideas were truer or better than any other, there would be no sense in preferring civilized morality to savage morality.” [2] Certainly, I believe that it is very important to have moral values and ethical norms to follow. Taking into consideration the fact that “A&P” was written in the 1960’s, we may think that American morality has changed a lot since that time. However, to my mind no matter how much time passes, some moral values remain unchanged.
In the beginning of my research paper I would like to give you a brief summary of “A&P”. This short story has been published in The New Yorker magazine in 1961. The setting of a story is a chain supermarket “A&P” in a small conservative New England town north of Boston. It was an ordinary quiet summer day when three teenage girls wearing only their bathing suits walk into A&P supermarket to do some shopping. Sammy, the protagonist, a young man who works at the checkout line, observes their every movement. He watches them really carefully paying a lot of attention to every single detail, judging about their personalities and family lives. Sammy especially likes the most attractive girl in the group, who seems to be the leader.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    This story, in all honesty, did not entertain me or stimulate intriguing thoughts. I felt like the author gave a lot of his time to describe the scene and the appearance of characters that there was nothing really going on. I spent most of my time while reading trying to figure out or thinking what certain things looked like rather than anticipating what may be happening next. Overall this story did not engage me nor hold my interest. I did on the other hand find the way Sammy’s attitude to toward the girls rather baffling because here are these three girls, two of which he mentions are overweight and not on the attractive side, and then “Queenie” whom he points out is too pale but yet in a sense “eye candy”. It was strange how he felt a pull towards them as soon as he noticed them and felt the need to quit his job and become their self proclaimed hero. Was he just as strange or just someone who really needs the attention?…

    • 572 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    “A&P” is a short story about Sammy a supermarket clerk who begins to notice the behavior and lack of human interaction between the customers at A&P. When the conflict arises in the story Sammy’s decision changes his life as well as the way he feels about society as a whole. Sammy the narrator is very observative when he explains the things that happen around him which causes the environment of A&P to feel very realistic. A&P is a representation of the state of society in the supermarket. The story depicts the hivemind behavior at a supermarket by having the narrator Sammy name the customers “sheep” and “house slaves”.…

    • 587 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Sammy, the leading character and narrator of “A&P” by John Updike, is a young cashier in an A&P supermarket. Sammy is a working class dreamer trying to find his way in life. He devotes a great part of his narrative to describe his unpleasant job. Indeed, the story takes place inside the supermarket on a summer day; three girls in nothing but bathing suits come into the store while he is working. One of the girls catches Sammy’s eye. Feeling overwhelmed by her beauty, he nicknames the girl Queenie. Her two piece bathing suit was unacceptable to the conservative supermarket crowd, especially to Lengel, the manager. While Queenie and Lengel argue about store policies, Sammy sees the opportunity to seize the day. Fascinated about the unique aspects of the girls, he decides to take a stand against the pattern of his boring life. He doesn’t know how; however, he uses the conflict about the bathing suits as an excuse to take action.…

    • 763 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The main character, Sammy of “The A&P,” struggles with choosing between the decision to stand up for what he deems morally appropriate, or the option to ignore the mistreatment of three strangers. Unsure of the consequences, this supermarket hero risks his job for the trio of young ladies whom he had never come in contact with before. His irksome attitude toward the customers displays the true feelings he holds for his grocery store career. “I pull the bow at the back of my apron and start shrugging it off my shoulders. A couple customers that had been heading for my slot begin to knock…

    • 750 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    In the story “A & P”, written by John Updike, three teenage girls only wearing their bathing suits, walk into an A & P grocery store in a small town nowhere near the beach. Sammy a young man working the checkout line watches them closely. He notices details about them and the way they carry themselves, he also gives them names based on his observations. For example he names the leader “Queenie”. As the girls are checking out the store manager Lengel brings to their attention that they cannot be in the store with just their bathing suits. Queenie protests and they eventually leave, after which Sammy decides to quit, protesting the way Lengel has embarrassed the girls. As he leaves the store he hopes the girls are watching, but he comes to realize they are gone.…

    • 826 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    A&P: Short Story 2

    • 828 Words
    • 4 Pages

    “A&P” written by John Updike is a short story about a young boy named Sammy. He was 19 years old and he was working at A&P mini market. One day, there were three girls shopping at the store wearing bikinis, and Sammy was surprised yet adore these three girls, until one day he quitted his job because he wanted to be their hero, but unfortunately, the girls didn’t even see him. John Updike was trying to describe Sammy as a typical youth who is trying to get some attention.…

    • 828 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    A&P John Updike - Essay 2

    • 1019 Words
    • 5 Pages

    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.…

    • 1019 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Love

    • 796 Words
    • 4 Pages

    1. Updike arranges details artfully in order to set the story in a perfectly ordinary supermarket. His description of the appearance of the supermarket itself offers a vivid image. Updike talks about a girl in a bathing suit “in the cool of the A & P, under the fluorescent lights, against all those stacked packages, with her feet padding along naked over our checkerboard green-and-cream rubber-tile floor” (14). This offers the perfect description of a modern supermarket. The way in which Updike describes the three girls walking down the aisles adds to the supermarket image. Updike explains, “The fat one with the tan sort of fumbled with the cookies, but on second thought she put the packages back. The sheep pushing their carts down the aisle” (14). The author adds to the illustration with a description of this consumer, whose approach and actions reflect those of any supermarket customer.…

    • 796 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Although one’s good deeds may often not be acknowledged, the inevitable lesson of maturity can be taught through such experiences. In “A&P”, Sammy is a teenage clerk who is not acknowledged for accomplishing what he thinks is a good deed. During a hot day, three teenage girls walks into the A&P grocery store, wearing only their bathing suits. The image of the girl’s revealing attire provides an absolute contrast to both the simple interior of the store and also of the other conservative customers. Sammy describes the customers as “sheeps” because they look mindless as they follow each other around the aisles in continual, constant motion. However, these three girls conflict with the imagery of “sheeps” by breaking the norms of what the A&P grocery store, and society in general, has proclaimed as acceptable. These three girls symbolize the reverse of what Sammy has been accustomed to seeing in the store, which are the pedestrian and conformed customers. Infrequency rather than frequency triggers the events that occur in the A&P…

    • 1683 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    A + P Feminism

    • 762 Words
    • 4 Pages

    There is an apparent biased view against women in the short story “A+P” by John Updike. Society is male-dominated and women are discriminated against, whether they know it or not. Such a restrictive culture and societal views are indicated by the inner thoughts of the narrator, Sammy, who is the clerk at the supermarket. The interactions of three girls with the rest of the townspeople are documented in Sammy’s mind. Sammy’s descriptions of people, the dialect of the characters, and the actions that are noted converge to reveal the nature of the time and place of the A+P supermarket.…

    • 762 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    In the summer of 1961 we meet Sammy. Sammy is a 19-year-old clerk at the local A&P in a small town, and one day a few girls walk in, in their bikinis. Everyone in the store either stares at them lustfully or averts their eyes uncomfortably. When the manager gets back he scolds the girls and tells them that they cannot come back in there dressed that way again. So Sammy quits. I personally enjoy this story because of the dated wordplay and the character development.…

    • 544 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Sammy is a young teen who works at the grocery store. He is just like any other teen checking out everything going on. One day, he spots three teen girls walking through the door. This begins to show Sammy’s true emotions and character in the story “A&P”. Sammy shows that he is very observant, different, and dissatisfied.…

    • 531 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    “A&P” tells the story of Sammy, a nineteen year-old cashier. It is a typical day at the grocery store when three young girls walk in wearing just their swimsuits. From the time period to the social environment, John Updike uses many elements to describe the setting. A major motif of this story is social conformity, which is displayed through the setting. The time period, location of the supermarket, and the social environment all affect the the reader’s understanding of social conformity in “A&P.”…

    • 688 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    A&P by John Updike is told as an old memory from 19-year old Sammy’s perspective as he works his cashier job at an A&P grocery store. He recalls a day when he was working his job and three girls walked in wearing only bathing suits. From the very moment the girls walked in, his job slips his mind and they are the only thing holding Sammy’s attention, costing him his job and future.…

    • 460 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The story is set in a small New England town, and it is an average day. Three young girls enter the store where Sammy, a young cashier, works. He watches and analyzes their every move, and tries to guess their personalities based on body language. Sammy identifies the leader girl as “Queenie,” and takes most interest in her. The girls are only dressed in bathing suits, and gain the attention of the other men working in the store as well. This causes tension between the male characters, and causes Sammy to wonder about his own future in comparison to his male peers. Sammy does not like seeing the girls being objectified. The manager kicks the girls out based on their inappropriate attire. In an unexpected response and strange attempt to honor the girls, Sammy quits the job, and leaves the store, but immediately is overwhelmed by the uncertain consequences his actions will bring.…

    • 2050 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Good Essays

Related Topics