John Updike's Short Story A & P

Words: 1569
Pages: 7

In John Updike’s short story “A&P” we are given the first person perspective of a young man who is a cashier for a chain supermarket in a small coastal north eastern town. The narrator is presented as an average joe growing up in the 1960’s working a thankless job through the summer in a one horse town where there is nothing to ever really do or see or even talk about. Most of the first half of the story is spent in great detail describing the three bikini clad woman who walk into the store that Sammy, the narrator, is working at. The second half however is where all the action takes place and Sammy has great awakening and change in his life. This story as told by Sammy is one in which he starts to question the objectification and mistreatment …show more content…
However we see that after being that kind of classical narrator for some time there is a change in course, a slight one but it is still there that sets Sammy to become a more feminist narrator and character. He no longer feels comfortable with everyone disrespecting those girls for what they were wearing, either viewing them as a conquest, or seductresses and embodiments of improper and immoral behavior. He recognizes how uncomfortable that must make them feel and doesn’t want to be apart of that culture that makes them feel that way. He does all this also to hopefully get closer to Queenie that he had been pining over early in the story but once he realizes that his actions didn’t help him with that he still does not feel remorse. He feels as he leaves the store “My stomach kind of fell as I felt how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter” (Updike, 167). This quote just shows that he did something good with decent intentions but he still is flawed. He still thinks that because he stood up for some girls in a grocery store that his life is going to a lot harder than it used to be but doesn’t reach the conclusion that life for those girls isn’t going to change that much based on his actions alone and feels more sorry for himself than anything. It would be premature to call Sammy a feminist by the end of the short story however if Sammy were to stay on the same road he started on at the end of this then I believe with time he could be considered a great feminist