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A&P and the Working Class: Poverty, Boredom, and Hopelessness - Essay Example

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“A&P” and the working class: Poverty, boredom, and hopelessness Name Instructor Class August 4, 2011 “A&P” and the working class: Poverty, boredom, and hopelessness John Updike's short story, “A&P” describes Sammy, who acts like a hero and avenges the integrity of his princess, Queenie, by resigning from his job…
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A&P and the Working Class: Poverty, Boredom, and Hopelessness

Download file to see previous pages... “A&P” entails that Sammy belongs to the typical working-class family, whose poverty, boredom, and hopelessness will act as his shackles from realizing his primary goal of escaping the working-class life. The working-class works hard to escape poverty, but whatever they do, most of them cannot improve their social status, because their incomes are only enough to survive and their children could only “wish” for change. “A&P” stands for the working-class sector- busy and ordinary. Sammy has been working for A&P, probably for some time now, because he already knows the ins and outs of his job. The story already mentions that he needs this job, because he is sorry later that he quit it. But this job is a dead-end one, with no career path, especially for people who have not finished school and have no resources, like Sammy. Sammy, through his imagination, wishes to be someone different, to leave his poverty behind. Sammy cites people who “haven't seen the ocean for twenty years” (Updike). This remark can pertain to the working-class, who work long hours that they hardly have time to take rest and have beach breaks. Queenie and her group, however, enter the shop as if their life is “the beach” itself. ...
This image describes a contrasting life with Sammy, whose mother he remembers having ironed his white shirt he used for work last night. At the same time, Sammy describes his usual customers, “women with six children and varicose veins” (Updike). These women are typical working-class mothers who try to make end meets and have no time to look “pretty” like Queenie and her upper-class community. Updike is saying that while the rich enjoys their cocktail parties, the working-class is sweating to survive each day. While the rich people's children walk around convenience stores in their bathing suits, forgetting proper decorum in dressing, the working-class children dress in full and endure customers who are “cash-register-watchers” (Updike). The bored working-class individuals can only escape their fates through their fantasies, but never in reality, but these fantasies only perpetuate their social conditions. Sammy is clearly part of the bored working-class, who has already learned to “profile” customers, such as describing one of them as “cash-register-watchers” (Updike). He also mentions bombing the store, and yet people would remain focused on their shopping needs, because they all have to go back to work again. Their concentration on their material needs are expressed, when after a dynamite exploding, they are still saying: “Let me see, there was a third thing, began with A, asparagus, no, ah, yes, applesauce!” (Updike). Updike shows that the working-class is glued to everyday existence. Boredom, nevertheless, may lead to fantasies. Sammy fantasizes to be the “the hero of some Arthurian legend” (Parks & Peck, 2006, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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