Plot of John Updike's A & P.

Essay by Charmer221High School, 12th grade October 2003

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Plot of John Updike's A & P

In the beginning, Updike's A & P seems to be a simple recollection of a cashier's unusual day on the job. However, the nature of the store soon appears as a struggle that has been fought on many a battlefield. This time it takes place in the aisles of a small costal town's A & P store. The story through the eyes of Sammy, a nineteen year-old cashier, who is working the day that three girls come in, wearing nothing but swimsuits, bringing with them a whole different set of rules, and leave there making Sammy a changed man.

The story watches three girls going through the process of purchasing a snack for one of their mothers through the eyes of Sammy. These girls instantly intrigue Sammy, as they are wearing nothing but their swimsuits inside the store. Sammy follows the girls with his eyes, first cheecking them out, then deciding who is who, and finally making up a little background for each one.

The other cashier takes notice too, as the does the meat man, who also checks out the girls. This irritates Sammy because he feels strangely protective of them. He nicknames the bare-shouldered ringleader of the girls "Queenie." The manner in which the girls are dressed shocks many of the customers since it is such an anomaly to see someone dressed in such a way at a supermarket. The crux of the story occurs when Sammy is ringing up the girl's purchase. The manager sees the girls and calls them down in front of the entire store because of their scantly clad appearance. Queenie tries to defend herself and her friends, but to no avail. They quickly and sheepishly leave the tore. Sammy, asserting himself as the...