Time to Grow Up
In the short story “A&P,” John Updike writes of a nineteen year old boy, Sammy, who is overcome by his fantasies when three girls walk into the A&P grocery store. They are in nothing but bathing suits. He soon decides, after the events that occur, because of these three girls, to quit working in the third slot of the grocery store. The three girls to Sammy are damsels in distress, because of Lengel, the manager. Out of the three girls, one catches his eye, the one he calls “Queenie” (Updike 85). She soon becomes the center of his focus, from the details of her swimsuit to the color of her hair. He and his coworkers cannot seem to take their eyes off these girls throughout the entire store. This all changes when the girls go to the meat counter, where they meet McMahon. He is much older in age and the way he lusts after these young girls makes Sammy uneasy. Sammy, seeing the older man “slavering” over the girls, shows him that he does not want to be ‘that guy’. He shifts his feelings from corrupt to protective. He goes into more of a heroic mode so to speak. This is in his mind is what made him decide to quit his job, but why? After seeing the actions of McMahon, Sammy is shocked knowing he also was acting the same way. It brought to his attention how his actions cause an effect in many ways. When he quit he must explain his actions to his family, accepting responsibility for what he has done. Sammy must also decide how he wishes to perceive and interact with women in the future. In this story, Sammy goes from being an immature boy to a more mature man.
Sammy’s immaturity is very evident at the beginning of the essay. Updike helps us see what triggers his change of thought to becoming a mature young man. When beginning “A&P” we met a young man, Sammy, whom is growing tired of his bland job at a grocery store. Updike illustrates a picture of a teenager that is at his first job and in walks in the highlight of his day. “In walks...
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