Point of View
The Teenage Point of View
A teenager’s mind is very different than everyone else’s. They are very unpredictable and crazy. A & P is a story that exemplifies this. The main character Sammy makes the reader feel as if you are in his shoes. That is great first person writing. The great detail and setting help to better understand the story. If this story were written in third person, it would be very insignificant. When written in first person you can see how Sammy wants to be a part of the outside world and feels the need to fit in.
As a narrator, Sammy is quite reliable as he says everything that he is thinking. The reader has a limited perspective. This gives a great character development. Sammy puts everything out there for us to grab. His descriptions were ...view middle of the document...
This is the one sided teenage mind at work.
On the contrary, if this story were written in third person we would not get a taste of the whole story. The girls who walked in would be bad guys, and Sammy would be viewed as a normal employee. We would not know about his laziness and how much he hated his job. He gets mad at the smallest things. When an elderly lady yelled at him he could do nothing but think mean thoughts. This shows how cynical Sammy really is. The way he looks at those girls as objects also makes him very sexist. He paints a great picture of how everything goes down. If there were anything abnormal, the reader would know about it. All in all, this story would miss Sammy’s detail and personality if it were not from his point of view.
On the other hand, if we heard this from another viewpoint we would not have to hear Sammy’s whining. His limited perspective also didn’t let us really know what the girls were doing there. Maybe third person could have been a possible choice when writing this. Then we could see some other backgrounds and how they all came to be at that grocery store. Third person would have been a great choice if you don’t like hearing a teenager talk about how he views girls. If John Updike had chosen third person the story really wouldn’t have the same symbolisms. The girls wouldn’t be a new culture and Sammy would be the antagonist.
As Sammy opens up to us we understand his personality a little better. He keeps feeding us with more and more detail. There was never a dull moment. He explains everything with such precise detail that we think that we are even there. This story is written just the way it should be, and that is in first person from the viewpoint of Sammy. If it were any other way, Sammy taking off his uniform would be insignificant. There would be confusion by every reader. Now there’s only one question to ask: When you see a sign of freedom, are you going to take off your uniform?