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Point of View in A&p by John Updike

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John Updike's A&P is a story about a young man named Sammy, who is a cashier for a local

grocery store, A&P. While working, Sammy notices a group of girls wearing two piece bathing suits

into the store. He studies their appearances and behavior closely, and makes assumptions about their

personalities. When Sammy's manager arrives, and notices the girls in the bathing suits, he scolds them

for wearing such inappropriate clothing into a public place. Sammy, feeling sorry for the girls, quits his

job on the spot. The central idea of the story is that people want things because they are convinced that

they should want them, not because they actually want them.

Sammie, the cashier at A&P is an important character to note. Sammie is a round character,

because he undergoes an internal development throughout the story. Sammie is a typical teenage boy,

he is sexually attracted to the opposite sex, this being made clear by his deep interest in the three girls

that walk into the store. Every detail of the appearance is analyzed and his opinion is made clear. "She

came down a little hard on her heals, as if she didn't walk in her bare feet that much, putting down her

heels and then letting the weight move along to her toes as if she was testing the floor with every step

(1111)." Being observant and opinionated, Sammie sees the girls as things that he should want to be;

free and independent, instead of actually wanting them.

The central conflict in the story is external and is between Sammie and society. The conflict of

views between "society," and Sammie can be represented through the frustration Sammie feels when

the girl are mistreated at the store. Society rejected them wearing bikinis in the store, the glares, second

looks, and star stuck men all point to the fact that what the girls were doing was unacceptable. Sammie, upset with this as he realizes this in his mind blames A&P, the grocery store. To him, A&P represents

society, and since he is a A&P employee he is automatically categorized into having the same beliefs

that

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