John Updike's "a&p"

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Becoming an Adult Everybody becomes an adult at some point in time. The way one person gets to be an adult can be completely different than the way of another. For some it takes becoming a parent or a husband/wife. For others it may take being on one’s own before realizing what it really means to be grown up. In John Updike’s “A&P”, standing up for what he believed was right was all it took for Sammy to become an adult. As Sammy rang up the purchases of the everyday “sheep” (79) and “house-slaves” (79), he notices the “three girls in nothing but bathing suits” (77) that had come in. Like most hormonal, teenage boys would, he watched the pretty girls as they walked throughout the store, especially “Queenie” (79), who appeared to be the leader of the girls. He began to feel bad for them though when he realized his male coworkers were also “sizing up their joints” (79). After all, “they couldn’t help it” (79). Ready to check out, the girls unfortunately catch the eye of Sammy’s manager, Lengel, who also “teaches Sunday school” (80). When confronting the girls, Lengel states more than once that “this isn’t the beach” (80) and that the are to “come in here with your shoulders covered” (81) in their future visits to A&P. After seeing his manager publicly humiliate the girls and ringing up their purchase, Sammy hopes to become “their unsuspected hero” (81) by quitting his job. Although Lengel gives him the opportunity to change his mind, Sammy folds his apron and leaves it on the counter with the bow tie on top. Leaving the store, Sammy “look[ed] around for [his] girls” (82), but they were already gone. Without being rewarded for his heroic gesture, Sammy is left to deal with the consequences of his actions. He then begins to grasp harsh reality of being an adult and “how hard the world was going to be” (82). In “A&P” John Updike described how quickly a person can

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