John Updike’s “A & P”: An Appreciation John Updike’s “A & P” is a short story which reveals the disillusionment of a teenager working in a store, as the world in his imagination fails to reconcile with the actual world outside. It also tells the power of sex which can upset the life of young boys if they lack the sense of reasoning…
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This is the character trait of Sammy and this paper is an analysis of Sammy’s character in order to trace how Updike weaves a beautiful story using this inherent weakness in the central character. The place where Sammy stands in the store gives him a full view of the intricate divisions in the store. His eyes can easily follow the customers who pick up the articles for purchase and for him “there was nothing much to do except lean on the register and wait for the girls to show up again” as it was a Thursday (Updike). The readers follow Sammy as he is also the narrator. When the three girls enter the store and when his eyes study the details of their physical appearance, Sammy becomes spellbound. The incident shows the natural impulses of a boy at the sight of his opposite sex. Sammy is overpowered by the force of female attraction: “With the straps pushed off, there was nothing between the top of the suit and the top of her head except just her … it was more than pretty” (Updike). The girls have arrived there wearing their swimming suits, revealing the beautiful shapes of their bodies. He could bear the sight of the first two girls walking into the store, but the third one, Queenie's beauty, broke his heart. Sammy is an innocent boy who has not learned to live in this corrupt world. He reacts immediately to his impulses, to fulfill his desires.
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