Nineteen Candles: Coming of age a found in John Updike's "A&P"

Essay by keller5327University, Bachelor'sA+, March 2005

download word file, 4 pages 1.0

Downloaded 43 times

Brian Keller

English Comp. 102

Nineteen Candles

In John Updike's "A&P" we the readers are engaged with the coming of age story of Sammy, the story protagonist. Through conflict with authority, fleeting traces of first love, and decisions based in passion, Updike allows us to see the beginning of Sammy's transition from adolescence into manhood. With focus on character development, tone, and style, with little action to compensate, "A&P" brings us face to face with own moments in our lives when we've had to stand for what we felt was right. In life, there are defining moments that makes us who we are, and without these conflicts, we would cease to be people and would become the sheep that roam the aisles of the A&P. It is our responses to these times that shape our morality.

In the story, we find ourselves in the mind of Sammy, whose normal day has just been turned upside down by three young ladies in bathing suits.

Indeed, the first sentence with it's simple understated elegance, captures the reader's attention and sets the tone for Sammy's frame of mind. "In walk three girls in nothing but bathing suits" (Updike 15). From this, Updike uses a tone that is suggestive of the mindset of a young adolescent man. The story's tone continues to form around Sammy's observations of these three women, as well as offering views of Sammy's insights into the world. By the story's end, the tone has traveled from one of adolescence to one of manhood when Sammy quits his job, leaves the store and," I felt how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter" (Updike 20). Here, at the end, we find Sammy's tone going from one of a 19- year-old kid checking out the ladies, to one of...