An Adolescent Breaking Out of the Norm Essay

Submitted By cristy74
Words: 883
Pages: 4

Cristina Sanchez
Professor McGuirk
ENC 1102
May 21st, 2013
An Adolescent Breaking Out of the Norm In the “A & P” by John Updike, the main character is Sammy. He is a teenager who is tired of living this suburban life that he was born into. He works at the A & P and by his choice of words one can tell that he is ready to break out of the monotonous prison that he works in. He describes the customers as: “sheep”, “houseslaves” and “witches”. Even knowing that quitting will make it more difficult for him in the present, he breaks out of the norm by leaving a job that represents so much for others like Lengel(his boss) and Stokesie(his coworker). Sammy knows that there is more for him out there and takes this bold move for his future. Sammy is an average teenager who has a thirst for more than just the rigorous, boring life that he leads at his job. He knows that at the present time quitting would not be the ideal for him and his parents, but he sees a much bigger world out there that he wants to experience. Sammy even mentions his co-worker Stokesie’s situation as being sad: “Stokesie’s married, with two babies chalked up on his fuselage already at 22 years of age.” Towards the end of the story when he is quitting he makes this reference about Lengel, his boss: “Lengel sighs and begins to look very patient and old and gray.” Being a friend of his parents, he is now concerned about Sammy’s decision to quit and the impact it will make in his life. Lengel knows that Sammy’s family is in no economic position for Sammy to be making this nonsense decision about quitting. Sammy’s decision to quit, in the short term, will negatively affect his family and himself, but it is a decision he has to make to better his future and his chance of advancing to a higher social class. The first hint readers get about Sammy’s social class is when Sammy speaks about the difference in social classes in the story, from customers to the workers. When he mentions the cash-register-watching witch, one can tell that she is of a higher social class than he is from the physical description he gives of her and when she tells him to put her outstanding bill on her tab instead of paying for it at the time of check out. Sammy starts daydreaming of what type of party one of the girls who walked into the grocery store must be having when she purchases herring snacks: All of a sudden I slid right down her voice into her living room. Her father and the other men were standing around in ice-cream coats and bow ties. Women were in sandals picking up herring snacks on toothpicks off a big plate and they were all holding drinks the color of water with olives and sprigs of mint in them. When my parents have somebody over, they get lemonade and if it’s a real racy affair Schlitz in tall glasses with cartoons stenciled on.” In this imagery he is stating that the girls are of a higher social class than he and his parents by the type of parties they host. Sammy wants to achieve something greater than what he has in his life at the moment. Besides dealing with social class, Sammy