Unwanted Sexualization Of Queenie In A & P, By John Updike

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A&P, a story written by John Updike takes place in the 1950’s. Sammy, the store’s cashier, is extremely fascinated by a girl named “Queenie” who is an outsider. She and her two friends unknowingly defy one of the important unwritten rules of the structured quaint little town. Unwanted sexual attention has been drawn to their group, more specifically Queenie, as a result of her sensual sexy aurora she seems to exude. Sammy fixates on this girl willing to do just about anything to win her attention. Being that he’s concerned about what is happening in reference to the women in the store ranging from being smitten by them. Or the complete opposite embodying utter disgust by what each woman appears to be. Sammy, neglecting his job, begins …show more content…
She is a born leader and personifies leadership all while walking with two other, barely noticing girls. The two girls walk around in their suits, slightly ashamed and awkward, Queenie walks around as though she is empowered and unfazed by her revealing appearance. She doesn’t care about the looks of disgust she receives or the men sexualizing her, as she walks up and down the aisles. Queenie’s more than confident persona and demeanor is being noticed by everyone, whether they approve of what she’s wearing or not. She pushes the walls of what’s acceptable behavior without fully comprehending the magnitude of her actions. As a result, Sammy is drawn to her, seeing her as an object of sexual desire. Undressing her with his eyes, looking at her every move creating, in his head, this calculated perfect type of being in front of him. From her off-shoulder bathing suit straps, to the full view of her upper chest and bones of her shoulder, to her oaky hair, he seems to be mesmerized by every part of this girl having no imperfections. Sammy’s view of Queenie appeals to his manhood in unspoken arousal. He doesn’t see Queenie as a person at all. He sees her as a supernatural being worshipping even the way she walks. This presence she gave off was noticed the minute she stepped into the store, causing a gradual discord that resonated with the A&P store manager, …show more content…
Perhaps because she was asked to put on clothes and that would obstruct his view of her partially naked body. Sammy feels the need to be the “Clark Kent” of the story, an unsuspecting hero who steps in to save the day. I feel his actions were completely misplaced there was absolutely no reason why he should’ve stepped in. By him trying to step in and stand up to Lengel he further proves the point of women not being able to handle themselves, and that they will always need a savior and can not be people just objects to be claimed, or discarded as trash. Sammy’s efforts too avoid being a “sheep” has caused him to become one, just that in a way that he will never comprehend. He is just like every other man in the town, picking women apart, and labeling them as sexual objects, witches, or sloppy seconds no one

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