Books and Movies Reviews

The Challenge of Young Man Gro

The Challenge of Young Man Growing towards the World of Adults
The story "A&P" by John Updike is a tale of a young man who is compelled to figure out the difference between cruel reality and obscure fantasy. Using thefirst person point of view, Updike gives an inside look into the adolescent mind of Sammy, the narrator and main character. The young man feels discontent with his ordinary adult surroundings and tries to get out of the intolerant social atmosphere to seek unconventionality. The setting of "A&P," a small grocery store, represents an intolerable society. In addition, the characters, such as the insensible customers, Stokesis and Lengel, add to the feeling of unbearable strictness and monotonousness in this conservative society. On the other hand, the fascinating girl, Queennie, symbolizes longing for the future to the growing young man. Through the main character's conflict between the two types of opposing characters, Updike says that despite fearful uncertainty, Sammy's youthful aspirations to be free of tradition make him unwilling to try to meet the unrealistic expectation of society.
In this story, the A&P, located in the middle of town, is a basic factor in making the young man feel suffocated. The town is conservative and traditional as Sammy narrates that "'…the women generally put on a shirt before they get out of car into the street…' " (608). So there is no room for stepping beyond the normal and the proper. Sammy's life is a tiresome monotonous routine of a "checker-board green and cream rubber tile floor" (607), regularly ordered and neatly arranged aisles, and the constant noise of the check out slot machine. Furthermore, he is repressed by the "electric eyes" not allowing anything to escape and by a cash-register-watcher always tripping him up. Such setting o


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