Site Loader
Get a Quote

A & P is a story about a teenage cashier named Sammy, who works in a monotonous supermarket and makes the naive decision to quit his job. Sammy is a nineteen- year-old protagonist that gawks at three girls wearing bathing suits and watches them walking through the store. Sammy’s boss Lengel starts lecturing the girls to dress more appropriately. Sammy argues with the boss to be a hero. In this case, his gallant acts are unnoticed by the girls, and he is left to face with the hard reality that he is now unemployed. John Updike utilizes a different distinction in social class, heroism, and life-changing revelations to highlight the idea that romantic ideals can be neglected in our society.
A social class distinction is viewed between Sammy and Queenie. Queenie comes from the upper class that lives an opulent lifestyle, oppose to Sammy that comes from a working-class family. Sammy describes Queenie ‘s parents by saying ” Her father stood around in ice-cream coats and bow ties and the women held drinks the color of water with olives and sprigs of mint in them”(152). Sammy views Queenie from an affluent family that comes from a diverse home setting that are accustomed to having the best luxurious things. In contrast, Sammy describes his family by saying “When my parents have somebody over they get lemonade and if it’s a real racy affair Schlitz in tall glasses with “They’ll Do It Every Time” cartoons stenciled on “(152). Sammy delineates that he comes from a different social class that drinks beer and disregard the fact that they are destitute. He comes from a working-class family that lives based on everyone’s income. A class distinction is observed when Sammy defends Queenie and her friends without any gratitude. Sammy did not receive any appreciation for standing up for the girls based solely on his social class. ” The girls were in a hurry to get out, so I say “I quit” to Lengel quick enough for them to hear, hoping they will stop and watch their unsuspected hero”(152). Sammy’s love for Queenie made him stand up to his boss and make the absurd decision to quit his job. He eagerly expected the girls to stop and turn around and praise him for his good deed. However, they did not bother to appreciate what he has done. The girls are from a higher class and do not wish to talk to a person from the working class.
Sammy’s heroic actions lead his benevolence to be disregarded and discover that his impulsive decision of quitting his job will cynically affect him. In spite of his good deed, his acts of heroism would ultimately impinge him not perceiving appreciation from the girls. He is a working class teenager that is now unemployed, and now he will face the disappointment from his parents. ” It seems to me that once you begin a gesture, it’s fatal not to go through it” (154). Sammy acts of heroism reveal that he did not only quit for ethical reasons, but for romantic reasons as well. “I looked around for my girls, but they’re gone of course” (154). It is evident that his romantic beliefs in trying to talk with girls remain neglected once the girls walk away ungrateful for his audacious act. Even Though he is romantic, he can never be with Queenie based on their diverse social class.
Sammy instantly recognizes the mistake he made once he renounced his job in the supermarket. He realizes the impact that quitting his job was not worth sacrificing since he does not come from a wealthy family. He had a stable dead job and ended up unemployed. Drawing upon reality, he was inconsiderate to realize that sacrificing his job and financial status for girls that were apathetic is not worth risking for their attention. He acknowledges this after the girls depart from the supermarket “My stomach kind of fell as I felt how hard the world was going to be hereafter” (154). Sammy revelation to his romantic ideals brings a pessimistic impact to his life revealing that he left his job without any reward. He will now take in consideration that his romantic ideals for girls are not worth risking when his love ends up repudiated.
In conclusion, Updike conveys the idea of romantic beliefs are overlooked by the girls. Sammy’s love for Queenie is unavoidable, but can never associate with her based on their socioeconomic status. His heroic actions are inconspicuous which leaves him unemployed facing the hard reality that he will disappoint his parents. The life changing revelation of his romantic notions negatively affects him risking his job and leaving without the girls appreciation.

Post Author: admin