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Exploring Youth in A And P Essay


A&P by John Uplike is a story about Sammy , a nineteen years old boy. Uplike sets him in the relation w in life one must make countless decisions on a daily basis. From what he or she wants to wear in the morning to whether they think that it is the right stock to invest in at that time, choices are always there. In John Updikes A&P, Sammy, the local cashier, makes difficult, and immature decision that he must live with the rest of his life. Uplike uses image Sammy to the symbolisms of the youth and Sammys voice to imply his opinion about the social at his time.

At the beginning of the story right after the girls walk in, Uplike uses Sammys voice to mention about the immature of teenager For instance, Sammy referents to his customers as sheep, houseslaves and pigs(Uplike 602). His reference reveals his attitude toward the people that keeps his employer. His diatribe in the story directs at the witch who points out to him that he rang up the same purchase twice shows the unreasonable nature of this contempt for the customers. (601) Then the narrator Sammys voice totally changes when he describes the girls who enter the shop in the bathing suit. Particularly of the leader of the group ,Queenie,the nick name assigned by Sammy points out the stereotypical snap judgment that Sammy makes about her personality and social status(601). Sammy compares his regular customers with the Queenies group just bases on the way they shop; the items they buy and how they appear. However, he forgets to think that the regular customers who go to his store more often, and pay more than the girls. The regular customers are the people keep him in a job. Uplike is successful when he only uses the opposition of Sammys voice to express the authors view about the unfair social at this time.

In addition, Sammys comparison between his life and Queenie s life is another explanation of the conflict in the thought of Sammy. Sammy sees the girls in a higher class than his own and he would someday like to be a part of that higher social group. For example, he imagines, Her father and the other men were standing around in ice-cream coats and bow ties and the women were in sandals picking up herring snacks on toothpicks off a big glass place and they were all holding drinks the color of water with olives and sprigs of mint in them(603). Then he thinks about his middle-class life he says When my parents have somebody over they get lemonade and if its a real racy affair Schlitz in tall glasses with Theyll Do It Every Time cartoons stenciled on(603). Lengel , who is his manager represents the middle-class respectability that Sammy so evidently despises in his parents, as revealed in his description of the type of party that they throw, where cheap beer in cartoon glasses constitutes a "racy affair." (603).This is apparently the type of life that Sammy's parents have already mapped out for him in securing him a position at the A & P , also the type of life that Sammy so desperately wants to avoid. In saying "no" to Lengel's suggestion that he relent and keep his job, Sammy is actually saying "no" to his parents and their attempt to put him on the road to middle-class respectability.

Therefore , for Sammy, the bathing suits come to symbolize freedom and escape from the world in which he finds himself the bathing suits that the girls wear are unacceptable under the social rules of the small town such as A&P. They also represent the girls deliberate provocation, an attempt to attract the eye of every man they encounter. Sammy is initially drawn to the girls simply because they are scantily different , young, and attractive.. What he ultimately finds compelling about the girls in their bathing suits is that they have disrupted the system of rules that he has been forced to observe, an observation that Lengel, the authority figure, underscores by trying to enforce the rules the girls have violated. When Sammy quits his job, he significantly removes the corporate uniform that establishes his place in the system. Sammy views quitting the job as his way to assert his own independence However, the freedom of the bathing-suited girls remains unavailable to him. . At the end of the story he tries to be the hero for the three girls by standing up for them hoping to receive their approval, but the girls completely ignore him. Sammy loses his job and as he leaves the store he looks around for the three girls, but they are long gone. He takes one last look into the store window and sees that Lengel has taken his spot behind the checkout counter and continues checking out customers as if nothing has happened. As Sammy walks away from the store, he realizes his life is going to become more difficult. My stomach kind of fell as I felt how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter (605)

Sammy does not want to continue doing the same thing and live in the same way he always has up until now. He wants to change. He wants to become part of the same world the girls live in. Exploring to the youth who are lack in the social value , in the class that they are they want their freedom .However , they need to be mature to deal with their decision .

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