A&p summary

SparkNotes: A&P: Plot overview

Three girls in bathing suits walk into the local a p grocery store as Sammy, the nineteen-year-old narrator, rings up the groceries for a woman in her fifties he describes as " a witch about fifty with rouge on her cheekbones and no eyebrows." Sammy. Sammy imagines that the woman has been watching cash registers for the past forty years, eager to find a mistake. The girls in their bathing suits command attention with their sexual power, causing Sammy to make a mistake at work. Based on the appearance and actions of the woman who's sale he is ringing up (incorrectly sammy thinks he's got her pegged through and through, that he understands her inner life. Active, themes, sex, gender, power ' data-html'true' data-placement'auto bottom' data-toggle'popover' data-trigger'hover' appearances and Inner lives ' data-html'true' data-placement'auto bottom' data-toggle'popover' data-trigger'hover' after the woman leaves, sammy watches the girls walk down an aisle, and he describes each of them. There's the girl in green plaid, whose bathing suit looks new, and another girl with frizzed hair, a sunburn, and a long chin, who sammy describes as the type of girl who other girls find "striking" but who they know won't truly make.

On a more homeric level, the hero is tempted by soda the three sirens (from the wealthy summer colony out on the point) and rejects his mentor to follow them. Such mythical possibilities point up the underlying richness of Updikes prose, but there are sociopsychological implications in this initiation story as well. Although Sammy defends the three girls against the provincial morality of his small town, he is the only one holding his outmoded romantic code; the three girls ignore him. Sammy, in other words, is a working-class hero defending a privileged upper class which does not even acknowledge his existence, and Sammy loses his job because of romantic notions to which only working-class characters, apparently, still subscribe. On another level, the story points to a generation gap in which Sammy acts to protect the young women from the world of adults, only to end up in some limbo between the two worlds himself. With a series of binary oppositions, Updike has shown readers the complex world that adults inhabit and the compromise that is needed to navigate that world. The storys many reprintings demonstrate its universal appeal. Next:Additional Summary, homework help. A p homework help questions, view More questions ask a question. Related Study guides, popular Study guides, new Study guides.

a&p summary

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Summary (Masterpieces of American Literature a p is a classic initiation story in which the young protagonist acts spontaneously and then learns something about the consequences of his actions. Sammys conversational, comic voice is perfectly appropriate for his nineteen years and is even a little ungrammatical in its first-person narration: In walks these three girls in nothing but bathing suits, the story abruptly begins. Little else happens: Sammy follows the three with his eyes as they wander the store to arrive at his cash register with their Fancy herring Snacks. The stores middle-aged manager finally notices the girls and reminds them of the stores clothing policy, and Sammy, their sudden and unsuspected hero, defends them by quitting his job. The immature sammy believes that once you begin a gesture its fatal not to go through with it, and although Lengel warns Sammy of the consequences of his act, sammy walks out anyway. When he gets to the parking lot, the girls are gone, and Sammy suddenly realizes how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter. Short as it is, the story has a number of classical overtones. Like the hero of some Arthurian legend, sammy is on a romantic quest: In the name of chivalry, he acts to save queenie (and her two consorts) from the ogre lengel.

a&p summary

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Sammy is highly sensitive to the class differences between the point, where the three are apparently vacationing (a place from which the crowd that runs the a p must look pretty crummy and the supermarket where he works (where houseslaves in pin curlers push shopping. Sammys fantasies are rudely interrupted when Lengel, the officious supermarket manager (and Sunday school teacher notices and reprimands the girls for their dress: we want you decently dressed when you come in here. Queenie blushes, and Sammy jumps to their defense in the only way he can: I say i quit to lengel quick enough for them to hear, hoping theyll stop and watch me, their unsuspected hero. They do not, and Sammy is left to confront Lengel. You didnt have to embarrass them, he says. Lengel explains, in defense of the towns provincial mores, It was they who were embarrassing. Lengel reminds Sammy that his impulsive action will hurt his parents and that he will feel this for the rest of his life, but Sammy is trapped by his own chivalric gesture, and by the romantic code of which it is a part and. Remembering how Lengel made that pretty girl blush, sammy punches the no sale tab on his register and walks out into the hot and empty parking lot.

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a&p summary

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Seeing queenie and the girls upset, tells Lengel that quaid he didn't need to embarrass them like that. Lengel retorts that the girls embarrassed him and the town by flaunting their bodies. Sammy gallantly quits on the spot to defend queenie's honor. She takes no notice. Sammy realizes that no one appreciates his gesture and that his romantic, chivalrous ideas will make life hard for him. Subscribe now to download this study guide, along with more than 30,000 other titles. Get help with any book.

Download pdf, summary (Comprehensive guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition). A p is a short initiation story in which the young protagonist, in a gesture of empty heroism, quits his job at the supermarket because the manager has embarrassed three girls—and learns just how hard the world was going to be to him hereafter. Most of the action in the story takes place in the short time sammy stands at his cash register on a summer afternoon watching three girls from the nearby beach colony, dressed in nothing but bathing suits, wander the store in search of a jar. By the time the three reach his checkout stand, sammy is halfway in love with their leader, a girl he nicknames queenie, who has nothing between the top of the suit and the top of her head except just her. Sammy is attracted to the girl not only by her physical beauty but also by her regal bearing and by her clear disdain for small-town mores.

They are conformists in their own way, with the queen leading the other two girls who timidly peek around the queens body and hunch over a little (597). Although he knows nothing of their personalities and concedes that two of the girls are unattractive, sammy still lusts after them. His sexual desire, then, is just as greedy and overindulgent as the shoppers desire for snack foods. Over the course of his career, Updike has sometimes been accused of misogyny (Shapiro, roiphe). Based on his descriptions of the women in the story, sammy certainly seems to have a misogynist worldview. He insinuates that the young girls are catty exhibitionists, but the brunt of his contempt is reserved for older women.


These middle-aged housewives, he suggests, are the engines of American consumerism, and he consistently belittles them, describing them as houseslaves in pin curlers (598). His account of the middle-aged woman at the beginning of a p is dehumanizing; he calls her a witch and compares her to a bird, calming her down by getting her feathers smoothed and her goodies into a bag (596). Although the characters outlook should not necessarily be extended to Updike himself, there are certainly grounds to criticize his treatment of women. At a glance, three teenage girls walk into an a p wearing nothing but bathing suits. Sammy, the young cashier, watches them closely. He names their leader "queenie" because of her regal, disdainful manner. Queenie and the other two girls want to buy kingfish Fancy herring Snacks in Pure sour Cream. When the girls approach the register, sammy's manager, lengel, reprimands them for not covering up before coming into the store.

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Rather than a you necessity for survival, Updike portrays grocery shopping as a lavish exercise in self-indulgence. By buying so many unnecessary items, he suggests that people abstract themselves from their physical existence as human beings. Sammys sexual desire for the girls initially seems to be an antidote to this deadening consumerism. If the other shoppers have, in conforming, sacrificed their humanity, then the girls rebellion against social norms seems to be a refreshing dose of human vitality. This interpretation is reinforced by their nakedness; by forgoing regular clothing and make the conformity that comes with it, they embrace their fundamental human nature, and the beauty of this spectacle is stunning to all who witness. However, there is an alternate interpretation of the girls nudity. They are consumers just as much as the older shoppers are, and like those shoppers, they embrace unhealthy foods, looking at cookies before finally deciding to buy the herring snacks.

a&p summary

Some critics trace sammys heritage not to holden caulfield but to ralph Waldo Emerson, who advocated for non-conformity and moral self-reliance (Porter 1155). In the early pages of a p, sammy establishes his biography contempt for conformity and consumerism, insinuating that the people who shop at a p are sheep (597) who can never be roused out of their daily routines. This critique is cemented by his detailed description of the store. Sammy locates himself between the checkouts and the Special bins (596) and describes the girls going up the aisle (597). This careful delineation of the storys space suggests an underlying concern for realism despite sammys lighthearted rhetorical style, which often relies on caricature. Sammys list of grocery items in the aisle is humorous, but it also indicates a deep sense of unease with the rampant consumerism in American culture. None of the foods Sammy lists are nutritious. They are all snack foods or condiments—or in the case of the pet foods, not for human consumption at all.

the girls again, as if they cannot believe their eyes. Analysis, only ten years before, john Updike published a p, his. New Yorker colleague. Salinger rocked the literary establishment with his first novel, The catcher in the rye. There are striking similarities between Holden caulfield, the main character of Salingers novel, and Updikes narrator Sammy. Both hold a deep-seated contempt for authority and hypocrisy. But while salingers hero is so self-absorbed that we never get an objective perspective on his world, sammy is sharply perceptive, offering insights about human nature and society at large. The main action of a p unfolds not in the grocery store but in Sammys mind. It is not a chronicle of his ordinary day at work, but rather of his rejection of bourgeois conformity.

He infers that it was her idea to come to a writing p in the first place. He calls her the "queen" or, later, ". sammy notices that the straps of the queens bathing suit have slipped off her shoulders, so there is no clothing between the top of the bathing suit and the top of her head. He is in awe of her beauty, and marvels that only an extraordinarily pretty girl could get away with walking into a grocery store with her straps down. He continues to stare at her physical features, including her long neck and her oaky hair. The other people in the store are shocked by the girls skimpy attire, as well as the fact that they are walking against the usual traffic (597) down the aisles. Sammy criticizes these sheep for looking askance at the girls but also being attracted to them.

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Summary, this story is narrated by, sammy, a young cashier at the supermarket. One day, three girls in bathing suits stop in to buy some snacks. Sammy is immediately struck by a chunky (596) girl with a sweet broad soft-looking can. He is so mom attracted to her that he accidentally rings up a box of crackers twice, provoking the ire of the middle-aged customer who was trying to buy them. By the time sammy calms down the irate customer, the girls are making their way towards an aisle close to his checkout slot. He notices that the girls are barefoot. None of them are particularly beautiful; he characterizes the first as chunky and pale and the second as the kind of girl that other girls think is very striking and attractive but never quite makes. However, he quickly identifies the third as their leader, noticing that she walks slightly ahead of her friends and almost seems to be showing them how to command attention.


a&p summary
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We will then s ummarize his short story a p and analyze its themes and meaning. A p and Other Stories study guide contains a biography of John Updike, literat ure essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full.

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