Analysis Of John Updike’s “A&P”

1057 words - 5 pages

Analysis of John Updike’s “A&P”
The story “A&P” takes place at in an A&P grocery store located in a small town, specifically in the 1960’s. We are introduced to our main character Sammy, who is one of the cashiers at the store. Sammy is a young man you isn’t at the happiest point in his life, but rather bored and doubtful towards his future. At one point in the story a group of girls walk into the grocery store and Sammy becomes particularly fascinated by them. While the girls are shopping Sammy observes how the other customers react to this outgoing group. He begins to see how these girls are in reality “going against the grain,” compared to the regulars who shop there. As opposed to the ...view middle of the document...

At the same time though, deep down Sammy wants to just move on with his life. It seems that his parents have a set path for their son, and want him to follow the norms of society, but this is not as appealing to Sammy. To continue to work at the A&P would just mean that he has settled in life; and at this young, that’s a very misfortunate conclusion.
One of the major factors that are influencing Sammy into thinking the way he is would be the store manager: Stoksie. Stoksie has decided to make a career out of working at the A&P and already has a wife and two children. In other words, he’s set for life according to the standards of society. What makes all of this worse is that Stoksie isn’t that much older than Sammy. With a family already made, Stoksie doesn’t have much room to take some time out and think about what he wants out of life. His priorities now consist of providing for his loved ones and making sure all their needs are met. Therefore, Sammy indeed views Stoksie as a glimpse into his future. He sees Stoksie’s days are very consistent and hardly off the beaten path. Working with Stoksie has influenced Sammy’s doubts and warned him to be cautious, because it’s very easy to get sucked into any sort of conformity.
When the group of girls walk into the store they make a huge impact of Sammy, which leads him to have somewhat of a revelation. At first glimpse of the girls, all Sammy notices are their physical characteristics: are they pretty or ugly, the clothes their wearing, and so on. But as he continues to observe them, he sees the overall dynamic between the girls and how they interact with each other. He then realizes that their actions begin to interrupt the order of the A&P. The customers, who are considered the regulars, always do the same thing...

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