A Critical Response of A&P A Story By John Updike When Sammy states "Now here comes the sad part of the story"ÃÂ, the reader assumes the writer is referring to the girls. Although the focus of the story is the girls, the reader all along is learning about the storyteller, Sammy. But it isn't until the end of the story that the reader realizes that the "sad part"ÃÂ is actually referring to Sammy. The incident in the grocery store changed Sammy's life forever.
Assumingly, the girls went on with their lives and were unaffected by the encounter once the initial embarrassment was over. The change, or the sad part of the story, was that Sammy changed his life for the three girls. Most may recognize this as sad but Sammy may always remember this encounter as a changing point in his life. Even though he refers to this incident as sad, it may actually be happy.
Sammy may have gone on to move out of the small town, or may have decided to attend college and move on to a greater job. However, Sammy might have gone on to open his own grocery store in the small town. On the other hand he may have ruined his life and is now a bum on the streets. The reader is only left to wander.
One would have to guess at the things that make the story sad because nothing is said of what Sammy goes on to do. When Langel said "Sammy, you don't want to do this to your Mom and Dad"ÃÂ, it seems like Sammy quiting his job had caused something to happen to his family life. He may be financially supporting his parents, or he just may be young and they might be disappointed in him.