Short Story Essay #1- Minor Characters-“A&P”
Word Count: 785
Minor characters are crucial to a reader’s understanding of any story. In John Updike’s short story, “A&P,” this is very apparent. In this short story, two of the minor characters are quite important. These two minor characters are Queenie, a young woman shopper and Lengel, the manager of the A&P. Qeenie and Lengel are vital minor characters, as Updike uses them for the reader’s understanding of the main character, Sammy, including his personality and motivations, which provides further understanding of the story.
In John Updike’s “A&P,” Queenie is the lead girl of a group of girls that walked into the A&P, “She kind of led them,” (17) as Updike puts it. These girls, including Queenie, were all wearing bathing suits, which at the time the story was written, was considered pretty risqué. Sammy refers to this girl as Queenie because as he puts it, “- and then the third one, that wasn’t so tall. She was the queen.” (17) Based on how much Sammy talks about her and the way he does it, Queenie is his favorite girl of the group. Lengel is the manager of the A&P. According to Sammy, “Lengel’s pretty dreary, teaches Sunday school and the rest, but he doesn’t miss much.” (19) He’s a quiet man, “as I say, he doesn’t say much” (19) but he starts the controversy that eventually leads to Sammy quitting his job.
Throughout “A&P,” Queenie and Lengel enlighten the reader’s understanding of Sammy’s personality. Queenie, as the lead girl, has Sammy’s hormones raging throughout the story and shows the reader how Sammy is not only into girls, but is into disrespectfully defacing them by analyzing every part of their body’s as pieces of meat, not as respectable young woman. Updike shows this when Sammy refers to Queenie by saying, “She just walked straight on slowly, on these long white prima-donna legs.”(17) Sammy also illustrates this...