Breaking the Mold

Essay by Jthom4273College, UndergraduateB, October 2014

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Jasmine Thompson

David C. Darracott

English 1101

October 8, 2014

Breaking the Mold

In the story "A&P" by John Updike the character Sammy shows a transformation from accepting his social standing in life to making a rebellious decision because of an experience with several girls in the store. The story begins with the young man, Sammy, in a small community, located in New England, working at a small grocery store. It is the kind of place where everyone seems to know each other. There is not much to do and not many places to go. No one breaks the norm or pushes for change. A young person in a town like this can either accept the social status they were born into or break ties and try to do better. Sammy proves this as the story progresses.

At the beginning of the story Sammy is a typical nineteen year old.

He works at a grocery store and does what is expected of him. It is what he has done all his life. Although Sammy knows where he stands he still views the people around him, his town's society, as lower than him. To him they are all the same. They are predictable even. To him the customers are, "sheep pushing their carts down the aisle" (3) and housewives are, "house-slaves in pin curlers" (3). He even goes as far to characterize some of them. Such as in the moment when he makes a mistake ringing up an older woman and he says, "She's one of those cash register watchers, a witch about fifty with rouge on her cheekbones and no eyebrows, and I know it made her day to trip me up. She'd been watching cash registers for forty years and probably never seen a mistake before." (1). Not...