Essay on A & P By John Updike

801 Words Feb 1st, 2016 4 Pages
Lessons Learned Hard: Sammy In John Updike’s “A&P”
In his short story “A&P,” John Updike dives into the thoughts and actions of what he pictures as the “young boy entering adulthood”. On one side of the coin that makes up “A&P” is a young man’s heroic attempt to bring about his own freedom from the policies and rules that bind him. On the other side is the ironic repercussions of his actions and how they will affect the future world that he has never truly experienced before. Updike’s portrayal of Sammy’s critical thinking, innocencecreativeness, and naivety as well as an ironic outcome leads to reveal the story’s meaning that the world is harder than the small world of security.
With policies and rules that customers and even employees must follow, Sammy’s view of that world is very narrow and critical from watching customers follow these rules. Walking up the aisle along with the traffic, the world within the store has been trained to follow the rules blindly, thus leading the speaker, make an observation about the customers “The sheep pushing their carts down the aisle” (91). Updike uses this line to further the perspective that of which Sammy has in the store by making the direct comparison between the customers and startled sheep. By having the young boy notice, “His face was dark gray and his back stiff, as if he had just had an injection of iron” (94), he realizes how hard the world he has so carelessly thrown himself into was going to be. He understands that being…

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