Is where you are in your working career where you want to be for the rest of your life? The answer to that question is simple for Sammy in the story “A&P” by John Updike. Sammy, like many others in this world, is a young man trying to make some money in a small town. But unlike some, he refuses to be stuck in the same job for many years or possibly the rest of his life. One day while working the register at a local grocery store, Sammy notices three girls walk in. The girls are wearing their bathing suits because the beach is close to the store.
When the girls reach the register the manager notices the girls attire. He walks over to them and argues with them for a moment and then girls leave. Sammy didn’t understand why the manager had such a problem with what the girls were wearing. Suddenly Sammy decides to quit. He takes off his apron and walks out the door. One of the things that caught my attention the most was Updike’s use of imagery in describing Sammy’s working environment.
“The sheep pushing their carts down the aisle-”(34), I thought, was an excellent representation of customers grocery hopping. I could almost see them pushing their carts around the store shopping for things. It seems to me that the customers are like sheep because they don’t really care about what is going on around them. They just want to get their things and go on about their business. Another good example is when Sammy is looking at the girls while they are standing in his aisle. He refers to one of the girl’s chest as “two scoops of vanilla”(36). I think this is an important point because he doesn’t refer to an older oman, who was standing in line before the girls, in such a manner. This shows a male point of view that helps the reader understand how Sammy feels and what is going through his mind during the story.
I think the girls helped give Sammy a reason to quit the grocery store. On one hand, Sammy quit for the girls. He saw how they were treated by the manager and thought he would be the hero by quitting to get back at him. And even though he knew the girls wouldn’t be waiting on him out side the store, he quit none the less. Because n the other hand, he didn’t want to end up like the manager when he got older. I was looking for a reason to quit a job once. I didn’t quit because I thought I was going to be working there for the rest of my life, but because I didn’t like working there anymore. I decided to not go in one day and when the manager called I said I had a science project to do. When she asked if I was going to come in ever again I said no. That was a long time ago and I would never quit a job in that way again. I was young then and I basically was just tired of working there.
Sammy’s future is unknown. The question of weather he quit because he thought he would be the girls knight in shining armor, or the fear that he would be stuck in a dead-end job the rest of his life is left up to the reader. Maybe both of the answers are both true. I think even though he thought in the back of his mind that the girls would be outside waiting for him, he knew in his heart that they wouldn’t be there. I don’t think Sammy’s future is in the grocery store business though. One thing is certain though, Sammy’s future is up to him.