Books and Movies Reviews

A&P summary

In “A&P” John Updike paints a picture of a young boy's transition to adulthood in a much more innocent time. In the story, Sammy begins the story bored and despondent and ends up as hero, if only to his own knowledge. Here, the characters and setting of the story work together to establish a theme of maturation. This is done by showing what Sammy does and is early on, how the girls affect him, and what he eventually does not just for them, but also for himself.
When wefirst meet 19-year-old Sammy, he is working for the summer at an A&P store as a cashier. He is bored, and annoyed at having to deal with “one of these cash-register-watchers, a witch about fifty with rouge on her cheekbones and no eyebrows” (14). He lives in a town “five miles from the beach,” but has never been there. (16) There is a sense that he is, in general, annoyed with adults, especially those much older than himself such as “women with six children and varicose veins mapping their legs and nobody, including them, could care less” (16). He's bored with his town and its “two banks and the Congregational church and the newspaper store and the three and three real-estate offices” (16). We suspect he thinks there must be more to the world than his small town “north of Boston” has to offer. (16)
This change, however, when three girls stroll into the A&P. One is “a chunky kid, with a good tan and a sweet broad soft-looking can with those two crescents of white just under it where the sun never seems to hit, at the top of the backs of her legs” (14). Another was “a tall one, with black hair that hadn't quite frizzed right, and one of those sunburns right across under the eyes, and a chin that was too long” (15). The one that really catches Sammy's eye, however, is “the queen,” the one who “kind of lead” the other two. (15) Sammy is captivated by Queenie, as he calls her, with her beige bathing suit with a little nub all over it,” her “white p


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