John Updike's A&P

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John Updike's A&P

Q: Is the short story A&P, a story of initiation?

Sammy's Dilemma at the A & P John Updike's A & P is the story of Sammy; a boy who decisions are based on hisinner feelings and desire to stand up for what is right. At 18 years old Sammy works forthe local A & P; a grocery store. One afternoon a group of girls wearing nothing butbathing suits enter the store and Sammy is drawn to them. Although Sammy's characterappears timid at first, he quickly becomes bold and daring before the end of the story.

The story begins as Sammy breaks the monotony of his job at the A&P to describein great detail three young girls whom have entered the store. “With the straps pushedoff, there was nothing between the top of the suit and the top of her head except just her,this clear bare plane of the top of her chest down from the shoulder bones like a dentedsheet of metal tilted in the light.” (230). Updike's opening paragraphs immediatelyenable the reader to view the world as Sammy does, admiring three young girls the wayhe might admire a 1950's American automobile, describing the girl's anatomy like that ofa car. Arguably, Updike uses Sammy as a vehicle to portray an undercurrent of youthfulrebellion in American society. It is also interesting to note that Sammy does not standalone on his position as he then quickly confides in a co-worker, Stokesie. “Stokesie'smarried, with two babies chalked up on his fuselage already, but as far as I can tell that'sthe only difference.” (231). Updike also eludes to the echoes of World War II fresh inhis characters' minds as the word “fuselage” has immersed itself in common dialogue. (Kennedy, X.J. Gloria, Dana. 14-19)

“Fuselage” can be inferred to by the reader as a reference to ...
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