Reviewing The Character Sammys Big Decision

Essay add: 24-10-2015, 21:50   /   Views: 97

"A & P" is the typical coming of age story where a young adult learns that the world does not revolve around him. John Updike exemplifies this valuable lesson through his character Sammy. Sammy, the narrator, has begun working at a local store called A & P. Here he realizes that he wants to do more with his life than just spend years wishing to be the manager. He wants much more in his life.

This causes him to make an adult-like decision that brings him to the realization of what he has done. Many of us come upon a situation that causes us to have to grow up. Many of us do not realize how much our decisions affect us and others around us.Sammy is a very observant and descriptive young man who seems to label the people he sees in the store. Like most young people he is quick to judge others: "She's one of these cash-register-watchers, a witch about fifty with rouge on her cheekbones and no eyebrows, and I know it made her day to trip me up.

She'd been watching cash registers for fifty years and probably never seen a mistake before" (497). Sammy tends to tell his audience about everybody that he sees, but fails to mention anything about himself. He seems to know every inch of the store as well: "[…] all three of them went up the cat-and-dog-food-breakfast-cereal-macaroni-rice-raisins-seasonings-spreads-spaghetti-soft-drinks-crackers-and-cookies aisle " (497-498).Three girls who enter the A & P in bathing suits seem to have caught Sammy's eye.

These girls are all Sammy can seem to focus on. He is very precise in his descriptions of the girls and seems to have labeled which one is the "queen": "They didn't even have shoes on. There was this chunky one, with the two-piece- it was bright green and the seams on the bra were still sharp and her belly was still pretty pale so I guessed that she had just got it (the suit) - there was this one, with one of those chubby berry-faces, the lips all bunched together under her nose, this one, a tall one with black hair that hadn't quite frizzed right, and one of these sunburns right across under the eyes, and a chin that was too long […] the kind of girl other girls thinks is very "striking" and "attractive." She was the queen. […] She had sort of oaky hair that the sun and salt had bleached, done up in a bun that was unraveling, and a kind of prim face" (497).

He pays extremely close attention to their actions as they make their way through the store. They seem to have really struck his fancy.Nobody else tends to view these girls in the same way that Sammy does, especially Lengel. When Lengel encounters the three girls wearing bathing suits, he informs them that "this is not the beach" (499). Lengel cares more about the store's rules, whereas Sammy cares more about the girl's feelings and how they are treated by others. Because of Lengel's confrontation with the girls, Sammy decides to quit his job at the store.In the very last paragraph of the story, Sammy states, "… my stomach kind of fell as I felt how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter" (501).

At this point in the story Sammy has had a flash of reality. He has realized that he is in the real world now. The store will still continue to help customers: "Looking back in the big windows, over the bags of peat moss and aluminum lawn furniture stacked on the pavement, I could see Lengel in my place in the slot, checking the sheep through" (501). The girls were no longer in the parking lot and they did not care about how he had stood up to Lengel for them: "I look around for my girls, but they're gone, of course" (501). This decision will cause embarrassment for his family when they see Lengel again: "Sammy you don't want to do this to your Mom and Dad … you'll feel this for the rest or your life" (500).

Sammy learned that life will continue.However, Sammy did make a heroic-like gesture by telling Lengel he did not need to embarrass them. It was very kind and caring of him. He was trying to attract their attention just like any regular teenage boy: "The girls, and who'd blame them, are in a hurry to get out, so I say 'I quit' to Lengel quick enough for them to hear, hoping they'll stop and watch me, their unsuspected hero" (500). Sammy also made the decision to quit because he knew he did not want to spend his life working at the store. He saw his life through Spokesie and Lengel.

Eventually young adults have to make their own decisions. Sammy just did it in the wrong manner. Sammy's behavior was very immature. He made a decision based on how Lengel treated the girls.

He thought the girls deserved better treatment and that Lengel hurt their feelings and made them embarrassed: "You didn't have to embarrass them" (500). The girls could have cared less about how Sammy took up for them. He let his anger for Lengel get the best of him: "[…] remembering how he made that pretty girl blush makes me so scrunchy inside I punch the No Sale tab and the machine whirs 'pee-pul' and the drawer splats out" (500).Life definitely will not end for Sammy.

He tends to follow through with his gestures: "But it seems to me that once you begin a gesture it's fatal not to go through with it" (500). He knows what he wants out of life. Sammy's life will not end just because he quit his job at A & P.This important event in Sammy's life has taught him a valuable lesson that everybody has to learn at some point in their lives. It is an experience that can really make a difference in the way that somebody views life. A situation such as this one can help one to view the world differently.

They come to the realization that the world does not revolve around them. The consequences often become clearer when a decision like Sammy's is made. A lesson like this often has to be experienced before it can be learned. These lessons are the most helpful throughout life. It only takes one experience to make all the difference in the way someone acts.Work CitedUpdike, John. "A&P." Exploring Literature.

Ed. Frank Madden. 4th ed. New York: Longman,2009. 496-501.

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