A&P By John Updike Essay

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In John Updike’s “A&P”, the main character Sammy quits his job as a cashier for the A&P grocery store. He doesn’t quite because his job is difficult or his manager treats him negatively. He wants to improve his quality of life and not end up working his whole life there. The quality of life he sees in the girls wearing bathing suits that walked into the store was that of luxury and riches. The store he was working at was dull and monotonous, and he did not want to end up like his store manager Lengel, who was telling the girls they cant wear bathing suits to the A&P.
Sammy mainly quits his job because he wants to move up in life and actually live it. When he sees the “queen” of three girls walk up to the register with the “Kingfish Herring Snacks” it suddenly hits him. He realizes that these girls are from a wealthy class, “ all of a sudden…picking up herring snacks on toothpicks off a big plate” (Updike 134) who are living the good life. Sammy also saw a foreshadowing of his future if he had kept his job. He would have been in the same situation as Stokesie “ married, with two babies… He’s twenty-two, and I was nineteen this April” (Updike 133) hoping to become a manager someday like Lengel and that’s not much of an accomplishment. Knowing that Lengel is described as being gray and dull “ Lengel sighs … old and gray” (Updike 135).
The setting of the passage gives an extra amount of motivation on Sammy’s decision to quit his job. His environment is bland with the same monotonous motions “ it being Thursday afternoon…lean on the register” (Updike 133) of cashing out groceries.
Its safe to say that Sammy is classified as a middle class individual and like most middle class individuals he spends most of his time working. He lives a few minutes away from the beach were all the wealthy individuals spend there summers, but he doesn’t get the time to be part of the extravagant merriment the upper class enjoy. “ It’s not as if we are on the Cape…haven’t seen the...

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