Analysis Of A&P, By John Updike

1036 words - 5 pages

I quit! These words can be attached to so many things in life. At times in life things seem to be different then they really are, for instance the thrill and the excitement of having a summer job or even successfully getting a first job. There are certain moments in a person’s life that will always have an impact on them one could call this a definitive moment or an epiphany. In the short story A&P by John Updike the main character Sammy has an epiphany in that he realizes that a moral line has been crossed in his working environment.

The story is a simple conflict followed by definitive action short story. It’s a wonderful portrayal of what a young man thinks and what he will stand ...view middle of the document...

The following passage supports this Updike states “people in this town haven’t seen the ocean in twenty years”. Tourism is what drives ocean towns, and communities. It’s a simple matter of taxation the more money a city can make off of the natural or man made attractions the better off the city is.

Sammy is from the working middle class the author doesn’t lead on that Sammy is a pauper or a debutant either he portrays Sammy as a normal male teenager. The typical characters are all displayed in the story, Sammy is the protagonist, and Lengel the store manager is the antagonist. At first it seems that A&P is the antagonist but, as the story goes on you can clearly see what role Lengel plays in becoming the antagonist. There is nothing wrong with taking pride in your job or exercising the authority given to you by being a manager, supervisor, shift leader, etc. Lengel takes his moral obligations into his apron so to speak, by giving the girls in the bathing suits the “this isn’t the beach young ladies” speech. Sammy describes Lengel as viewing the store as this great big dune and he is the head lifeguard. This description is very fitting for Lengel’s actions at the end of the story.

There are many different kinds of conflicts in A&P an internal conflict is waging between Sammy and himself, an external conflict is waging between Sammy and his manger Lengel. Sammy ultimately prevails against the internal conflict he faces, by walking out of the store once Lengel downs the girls for wearing bathing suits inside the grocery store. In today’s society it seems that if someone is wearing anything at all, much less a bathing suit that’s sufficient attire.

Sammy realizes that Lengel has crossed the line by embarrassing the girls...

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