"A&P" by John Updike

Essay by heatherrhae52College, UndergraduateA+, February 2007

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John Updike once said "I want stories to startle and engage me within the first few sentences, and in their middle to widen or deepen or sharpen my knowledge of human activity, and to end by giving me a sense of completed statement." I believe that his story "A&P" did just that. In the first few sentences the three girls are stroll into a grocery store in nothing but swimsuits, which is something you don't do in the early 1960's. The girls walking into the store dressed like that excites you and makes you wonder what the reason is for them doing this. Sammy the main character starts to describe the girls and the way he illustrates every last detail of the girls makes the story interesting.

In the middle of "A&P" the conflict arises's that Sammy and the girls are from two different social classes. The girls are from an upper class family and Sammy is from a working middle class family and he begins to realize that he has to do something extreme for the girls to notice him.

Sammy's manager reprimands the girls for walking into the store dressed in bathing suits and Sammy feels as if his manager embarrassed the girls. He took matters into his own hands and quit, so he would appear to look like a hero. Sammy is going from adolescence to adulthood and maybe quitting his job was a way to show he has matured.

By the end of the story, Sammy is wondering if he did the right thing because his plan to become a hero failed, the girls never noticed him. He begins to realize that now things aren't going to be easy and life from here on out is just going to get harder. The ending of this story...