A&P by: John Updike

602 Words3 Pages
Summary and analysis of plot in A&P In the short story A&P, John Updike uses the first six paragraphs as the exposition. It provides you with the setting and the main character, along with a bit of foreshadowing. Setting the scene, the protagonist, or hero of the story, Sammy, works the cash register at a local grocery store. Breaking the monotony of the day, three teenage girls walk in wearing only bathing suits. The sight distracts Sammy resulting in a mistake made while ringing up a customer, who “gives him hell” for the mistake. With no more customers in his isle, Sammy tracks the girls as they make their way around the store. He watches closely, giving them names of his own: first, “Queenie”, the leader of the group as well as the prettiest, then “Plaid”, the chubby one in a two piece, finally “Bid Tall Goony-Goony”, the tall, plain looking one. His behavior resembles that of a typical teenage boy. He enjoys looking at the girls bodies as well as joking with his co-worker Stokesie about them. The complication of the story begins to become apparent when Sammy describes the town along with its inhabitants. He looks down on them, viewing them as simple and dull. The generation gap between himself and the customers becomes apparent; he appreciates the sight of the girls while the customers stare in a negative way. As the story moves along, the girls end up in Sammy's checkout lane, purchasing only a jar of fancy herring snacks. As the crisis develops, the manager of the store Lengel arrives; the antagonist of the story. Being around the same age as Sammy's parents, Sammy views him as dreary, conservative, and stern. When Lengel approaches the three girls, the conflict begins as he disciplines the three by saying “Girls, this isn’t the beach”. He proceeds to lecture them about where they are, the way they should be dressed, and the policies of the store.

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