“A & P”, by John Updike, creates a unique and very rebellious plot based on the trivial fact of three girls who enter almost naked to a supermarket. From his position of privilege in the box, the protagonist observes the diverse reactions that the girls awaken between the public and the owner or manager of the supermarket. The outcome is somewhat unexpected because Sammy rebels against the way the store manager treats the girls. Many lessons can be learned from reading “A & P”. The careless way in which the girls walk into the A & P Supermarket in bathing suits causes everyone’s attention and the manager to go off on them and tell them how inappropriate was their clothing.
Moreover, Sammy, a teenage clerk at an A ; P grocery store, works the cash register on a hot summer day when three young women about their age walk barefoot and dressed in swimsuits to buy snacks. Although they dress for the beach, Sammy allows the girls to continue shopping while they are valued sexually. Imagine the girls’ details of their appearance, excessive impressions that, to their surprise, are shaken when the leader of the trio, a stunned girl has doubled “Queenie”, says in a voice unlike what she had created in her mind. Lengel, the old and bitter manager, feels that the girls do not dress appropriately to enter a grocery store. He rebukes
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them, telling them that this is not the beach and that they should have the next time covering their shoulders, which Sammy believes embarrassed. Offended by this mistreatment of the dignity of these clients, Sammy ceremoniously removes his apron from the store and bow tie and resigns on the spot, despite mention by the pain manager this would cause his parents. Sammy then leaves the store, apparently in expectation of some demonstration of affection or appreciation from the young women involved, only to find that they have already left, apparently unaware of his presence.
On the other hand, this short story’s characters create a scenario of conflict and adds to the plot of the story. Lengel, is the local A ; P manager, Lengel is a man who spends most of his days behind the door marked “manager”. He seems genuinely concerned even as he feels the need to enforce the store’s policy when the girls appear in their bathing suits. “Queenie” is the name Sammy gives to the gorgeous girl who drives her two friends through the grocery store in their swimsuits. Plaid and Big Tall Goony Goony, are the nicknames that Sammy gives to Queenie’s friends, who are somewhat more uneasy about their inappropriate attire. Readers do not learn Sammy’s name until the end of the story, even if he is the narrator of the first person in the story. He is a check clerk in an A & P supermarket. His language indicates that, at the age of nineteen, he is both cynical and romantic. Lastly, there is Strokesie, He is another inspector of the store mentioned. He is a minor character in this short story, but it really shows a sign of ritualism; Stokesie often jokes with Sammy that will not be promoted unless there is a Soviet takeover of the United States within 20 years.
Continuously, “The story is told from the first-person point of view of Sammy. From the opening line — “In walks, these three girls in nothing but bathing suits” — Updike establishes
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Sammy’s distinctively colloquial voice. Most of the story is told in the present tense as if Sammy is talking”. (Sustana) After gathering a few sources all of them coincide with the same or similar information. “Updike wrote “A & P” for The New Yorker, the story assumes a reader whose response to Sammy can go far beyond what the character can articulate for himself”‘. (Saldivar). As the short story goes on it is not expected for the first person, Sammy to quit his job for a trio of girls who walked in bathing suits into a supermarket. “The story ends with the narrator’s rueful reflection: “and my stomach kind of fell as I felt how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter.”” (Keller) Sammy had just quitted his job and had not thought of the consequences at the moment of his decision.