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Short Story and Sammy S Emotions

By trex182123 Oct 09, 2013 748 Words

A&P Analysis
Letting ones emotions get in the way of reality is a very dangerous thought. In the short story, “A & P” by John Updike, the protagonist of the story, Sammy, made a very harsh decision that will effect him greatly, just because he let his emotions take over his good judgment. The three females in the story walk into the market that Sammy works at but in bikini tops, shorts and no shoes. They distract Sammy while their presence is in the store. Eventually, Sammy’s manager scolds the girls for their inappropriate clothing, and tells them that next time they need to be better dressed for the store. Because Sammy feels his manager has embarrassed the girls, he quits in a blink of an eye, due to the fact the beauty of the girls took over Sammy’s emotions. Sammy quits his job out of respect for the girls that came into the store. He leaves the store and looked for the three girls that had left the store, he didn’t see them he thought about what he had just done and never looked back.

Sammy was not rebelling against his manger or his job, he was just doing what he thought was right to stand up for the girls. He was trying to make a point though. He shouldn’t have made such a fast decision when quitting his job for girls that he had met only one time. Because as he said himself, the girls were nowhere to be found after he quit. So they never knew that he was trying to stand up for them, so for him it didn’t make a difference. Because Sammy’s parents knew his manager, Lengel, Sammy had some second thoughts after the words “I quite.” came out of his mouth. “Sammy you don’t want to do this to your Mom and Dad, He tells me. Its true, I don’t. But it seems to me that once you begin a gesture its fatal not to go through with it”(Updike 36). This showed that after he quit he did look back to things about how this would affect not only him but also his parents to, due to theirs and Lengel’s relationship. He knew that he went about this the wrong way, but at that point it was to late to go back on his word. Sammy tried to stand up for the girls and show his manager that he had no right to embarrass them the way he did, and he should have had more respect for them.

Sammy was trying to prove something to his manager when he quit his job, he wanted to prove his point and get his message through. He was trying to stand up for the girl’s rights, and out of respect for them because Lengel had embarrassed them on the store. Sammy got caught up in the moment a little bit too much when he started to tell his manager off and take the side of three girls he had no connection to at all. “The girls, and who’d blame them, are in a hurry to get out, so I say “ I quit” to Lengel quick enough for them to hear me, hoping they would stop and watch me, their unsuspected hero”(Updike 35-36). He was trying to be their “hero”. He jeopardized so much, and but so much at stake just to stand up for them, hoping that they would hear and thank them. But unfortunately, at the end of all this, he lost his job and didn’t get the attention of the girls. When he went outside after quitting, the girls were long gone, and nowhere to be found. He took a high risk and lived in the moment and took the risk for the girls he had just met.

There is a difference between quitting out of rebellion and out of respect. Even though Sammy quit out of respect, it didn’t mean his choice was the right one. He let his physical attraction to the girls take over his emotions, which then later took over this thinking about reality when it came time to think rationally about his job. Even though he thought he was doing something helpful, it ended up not helping him out at all in the long run.


Updike, John. "A & P." Literature: Reading Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Robert DiYanni. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007. 32-36. Print.

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