First Person Narration In John Updike's A & P

1026 Words5 Pages
In John Updike’s short story, “A&P”, a first person narration is carried out by a 19-year-old boy, Sammy. As a cashier at the A&P, Sammy reveals many of his observations he has had in the past, and observations he has while three girls walk into the store wearing revealing bathing suites. This occurrence in the store spurs emotions from the men working there, the manager Lengel, and the girls that walk in. While Updike develops a first person narration in Sammy that is casual, gracefully descriptive, and hormone-driven, “A&P” beholds a theme of women having a strong transformative power over men. As the three girls walk into the A&P wearing bikinis, an act that was certainly unacceptable for the story’s time period (most likely the 1960s), these girls are doing this strictly for shock value. In paragraph two, the persona of the girls is introduced by the narrator, Sammy: “You never know for sure how girls’ minds work but you got the idea she had talked the other two into coming in here with her, and now she was showing them how to do it, walk slow and hold yourself straight” (Updike 418). As Sammy describes how he believes that the third girl, “Queenie”, is the instigator, he also degrades the girls by claiming that one can never figure out how a girl’s mind truly works. It is with Sammy’s…show more content…
The two characters are not internally strong enough to withhold the girls’ conduct, making them the center of the story’s sexually-driven subject matter. However, because Lengel shows strength over the girls’ motive, the reader gains a sensibility that women do not always hold complete sexual power in all situations. As Updike creates a first person narration in Sammy that is elegantly descriptive and hormone-driven, “A&P” contains a theme of women often, but not always, having clear power over

More about First Person Narration In John Updike's A & P

Open Document