Story: A & P by John Updike - Essay Example

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Name: Course: Tutor: Date: A Critical Analysis of Sammy in John Updike’s A&P Sammy, the central character of John Updike’s A&P, remains the same immature and romantic daredevil till the end of the story. Being a boy of 19, he can do anything to grab the attention of the girls, Quinee and others…
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Story: A & P by John Updike
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Download file to see previous pages Though, at the end of the story, he realizes “how hard the world was going to be to [him]”, he fails to amend the error of his view about the world. Such realization is merely his fear about an uncertain future without a job. He does not show any psychological progress. Therefore, he remains a static character throughout the whole story. Sammy’s inexperienced and romantic view of the world could barely allow him to evaluate himself. He is not the hero in the fashion he wants to uphold himself at the end of the story by resigning from his job. In the form of a first person narrative, Sammy describes the girls in bathing suits. But the way he describes them rather proves him to be a sexist pig. But at the same time, it can be said that Sammy is a teenage boy who is infatuated with his passion for opposite. Sammy’s approach to his opposite sex is problematic because he rather views girls as sex symbols. But Sammy can be viewed as a mere production of the male dominated society in which he is raised. Though it can be concluded that Sammy is a passion-infatuated teenage boy, his naivety to describe the girls proves that he is the production of the immaturity of his young age. The way Sammy conjures up the imaginary pictures of the girls is flawed because it is in contrast to the reality. Sammy’s heroic perception about himself and how Queenie behaves with him contrast with each other. He behaves with a sort of superiority with other customers and coworkers, calling them “sheep” and “house-slaves”: “But there was no doubt, this jiggled them. A few house-slaves in pin curlers even looked around after pushing their carts past to make sure what they had seen was correct” (Updike). He is sarcastically dismissive to Stokesie, one of his co-workers in the store. But he fails to understand that Quinee does not see him differently from other colleagues in the store. Though his description of the girls is his artful, the way he ogles at them necessarily reveals that he is immature. Once again it can be said that Sammy’s infatuation is due to his age that lacks any experience of the reality. Even though Sammy resigns from his job in the grocery in order to protest the manager’s behavior to the girl, it rather appears to be a teenage heroism that is devoid of any real cause. A highly imaginative boy, he could imagine Quinee’s luxurious lifestyle. When Quinee excuses herself that her mother asks her “to pick up a jar of herring snacks” (Updike), he could “slid right down her voice into her living room” (Updike). He imagines that her parents and others in ‘ice-cream coats and bow ties’ are “picking up herring snacks on toothpicks off a big plate” and drinking the “color of water with olives and sprigs of mint in them” (Updike,). This imaginary description of Quinee’s lifestyle in highly figurative language clearly indicates that Sammy himself is hungry for such luxury. He does not understand that such luxury is beyond his reach. Though he seems to be smart, decisive and artful, he is immature romantically. He does not know stern realities of life. He is easily misguided by the illusion of a carefree life. Being tantalized by the imagination of Quinee’s carefree and rich life style, Sammy easily risks his life. But he fails to understand that sexuality and the relationship between the opposite sexes is not that ‘easy as beans’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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A & P by John Updike
When looking at this story through a Marxist lens, one can see that there is the aspect of societal classification and the ethics of a society that is consumer conditioned. The Marxist Socialism school of though holds that those who earn a salary, also refereed to as the working class, are molded by the state they are in, that is, wage-slavery.
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