Summary. This story takes place in an A
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1. John Updike’s A&P Bill Skibinski
Alton Albritton III
2. Summary This story takes place in an A&P store. It starts out with three young ladies who walked in the store. They catch the attention of a young man at the register. The young man’s name is Sammy and he immediately begins to dissect each of the girls. He follows them with his eyes as they wonder the store looking for the item they came for, which is Kingfish Fancy Herring Snacks. Sammy talks to his fellow register worker whose name is Stokesie. They talk about the girls for a minute before Stokesie is swamped by people trying to check out. Eventually his manager walks in and notices the girls and their ‘inappropriate’ clothing. He talks to them about their dress and the protocol on how one should be dressed when entering the store. Lengel somewhat goes back and forth with the girls for a minute before Sammy rings them up. After this occurs Sammy becomes upset with how his boss handled the situation and tells Lengel that he quits. Lengel tries to convince Sammy not to do this but his mind has already been made. He takes off his apron and walks outside, but to his dismay the girls had already left.
3. Main Characters Sammy- Store clerk who narrates the entire story. He is nineteen years old and working for the summer at the A & P store.
Stokesie- Young man who is a friend of Sammy. He is twenty-two years old and is married with two children.
Lengel- He is the manager of the store. He could also be the antagonist in the story. He has known Sammy for a long time and been friends with his family.
Three Girls- There were three girls that walked in the store. There was the girl wearing a two-piece plaid bathing suit. Next was a taller girl who was pegged as “striking”. Last was the girl who seemed to be the leader. She was in front and seemed to be in charge.
4. Critical Questions What is the significance of the title? The title “A&P” is the name of the grocery store where the story takes place. This is also where the main character of the story works and makes his observations.
How is the story told? Who is the narrator? What perspective is used? What is the tone of the language? Is the narrator reliable? The story is told in the first-person perspective. Sammy is the narrator and main character of the story. The tone was that of a boy coming into his man-hood, he is noticing girls and has a rebellious side to him. Yes, the narrator is very descriptive and honest in what he is describing to us.
Look closely at the opening and ending. On what does the author and narrator focus? Throughout the story the narrator is focusing on the three girls who enter the store. He makes interesting observations about their physic and their social structure. He also describes the other customers in the store, making jokes about how wrapped-up in themselves they are. As Sammy is approached by the girls, he pays attention to almost every detail, especially the one who he is particularly fond of. When the girls are scolded by the manager, Sammy makes a split decision to quit his job in order to both defend and impress the girls, who don’t even notice what he has done.
How does the character transform in the story? In the beginning, Sammy is just a young man observing and admiring the three young girls who enter the store where he works. He seems to live a boring life and never did anything of significance. In the end, when the three girls are confronted by the store manager, Sammy decides to defend them and quits his job, even though he knows there will be consequences. Though the girls do not notice the bold stand he made for them and the manager trying to convince him to stay, he still walks out, never to see the girls again.
5. Questions Cont.
5. What is the major theme of the story? Explicate. Are there any minor themes? The major theme is about a young man defending 3 young girls that he is admiring. A minor theme is the people in the store just meandering around, clueless and are described and sheep in a corral.
6. Are there any allusions in the story that could add meaning to your interpretation? No
7. What are the symbols or other figurative elements in the story? The story is filled with many symbols. Sammy tells us how the mean woman would have been burned in Salem, giving her the illusion of a witch. He also describes the store as being like a Pinball Machine, people buzzing around and not knowing what tunnel the three girls will come out of. Sammy also describes the other customers in the store as sheep waiting to be checked out.
8. What seems to be the author's primary goal/purpose in writing this short story? It is a nostalgic story about Sammy. It tells us what young men will do to hopefully impress a girl.
9. What is your reaction to this story? How does your reaction influence your reading? On a second read of the story, I found myself able to relate to Sammy. Being a young man, I feel the same way towards girls and I also have a rebellious side as Sammy did. I have also worked in grocery stores before and know how some customers can be when shopping there. I enjoyed how the “witch” was described and the other customers just meandering around who wouldn’t even notice a bomb going off in the store.