The Enlightenment of Sammy in Updike’s A & P
In John Updike's short story, "A & P," the main character, Sammy, is a cashier at a small grocery store. He is seen by many to be a sexist pig, describing in detail how he sees the three girls that walk in to the store. Sammy is in fact a sexist pig by what he says about them. With evidence and quotes from the story, Sammy can be determined to be a sexist pig. He describes the first girl he sees walking in the store as "a chunky kid, with a good tan and a sweet broad soft-looking can with those two crescents of white just under it..." (421). Although the comment was kept to himself, in ...view middle of the document...
"This clean bare plane of the top of her chest down from the shoulder bones like a dented sheet of metal tilted in the light" (421). With this quote, he is describing how the bathing suit was slipping off the girl, but in a more demeaning manner. "With the straps pushed off, there was nothing between the top of the suit and top of her head except just her..." (421). Sammy describes that he just sees the girl, a one-nighter type. He doesn't see that she's a human, but just a plaything. One other quote/thought that Sammy has while these girls (whom remain nameless throughout the story), is when the one he calls Queeny takes her money from "the hollow at the center of her nubbled pink top" (423). He begins to get excited as he uncreases the bill as "it just having come from between the two smoothest scoops of vanilla [he] had ever known there were" (424). Sammy seems to be more of a sexist pig, as the reader proceeds through the story.
In conclusion, Sammy is a sexist pig. His thoughts of the girls are distasteful and degrading towards them. The idea of his precession of calling the girls by what they look like makes him a pig. But how he describes them, in the manner that he does, makes him sexist. Towards the end, when he looks for "[his] girls" (425), he notices they are not there. Maybe he realized that since he didn't know them that they weren't going to hang around for him, or maybe he realized that no girl would want to hang out with a sexist pig.