Explication Essay of a&P by John Updike

Words: 1068
Pages: 5

Essay 1-Explication Essay of A&P by John Updike
We have all had that moment of clarity when we realize, no longer children, our decisions can greatly impact the course of our future. A&P gives an insight into the main character’s realization of how he perceives his life, the lives of those around him, and how with one impulsive decision he forever changed the course of his life. Sammy, the narrator of A&P, is a 19 year old boy whose assumption of others, dislike of conformity, and his rash decision making exemplify teenage discovery, that our actions impact our future.
Sammy’s assumption of others is immature and serves only as a distraction from his self-distain. He describes, in great detail, the three girls who enter
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Sammy demonstrated typical teenage behavior, by making a rash decision, in quitting his job before rationalizing it. After witnessing Lengel verbally chastise the girls for wearing their bikinis into the store, Sammy decides, in hast, to quit. He believes this will portray him as a hero in the girl’s eyes. He very quickly discovers they exited the store with not so much of a glance back in his direction. Now, he has to live with his impromptu “adult” decision and the consequences of his choice in quitting his job. “But it seems to me that once you begin a gesture it’s fatal not to go through with it” [388]. He considers the fact that he will regret this decision later on and that he will disappoint his mom and dad, as Lengel pointed out. “Sammy, you don’t want to do this to your Mom and Dad.” He tells me. It’s true, I don’t” [388]. He quickly dismisses these thoughts and makes amends that initially he may be remorseful of his impulsive decision, but realizes this is what he needs to do. After he exits the store he optimistically looks for the girls and realizes they are gone. “I look around for my girls, they’re gone, of course.” [389]. He has to take in the fact that he is alone, having to stand on his own two feet, and know that the road ahead with be difficult. “-I felt how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter.” [389]. Sure to be full of trials, Sammy takes his first auspicious steps into