In the story A&P by John Updike, the main character Sammy is portrayed as a typical young male. When the three young females enter the store, he is quickly distracted from his duties. As he watches the young girls move throughout the store, he describes each of their bodies in detail giving away his overwhelming sexual awareness. Sammy is so distracted by these bathing beauties that he rings up some old bats item twice and makes her angry. It is made quite evident that Sammy is finely attuned to each and every movement of these young ladies as they amble down each and every aisle throughout the store.
Sammys carnal mindedness is first made apparent in the story when he describes the chunky one in her green, two-piece bathing suit. Sammy describes this girl as having a good tan and a sweet broad soft-looking can with those two creasants of white just under it, where the sun never seems to hit, at the top of the back of her legs (Updike 369). Sammys hormones kick into overdrive when he sets his eyes upon this girls overly fleshy backside. Sammy states that he likes what he sees even though this chic is chunky and her butt is soft and wide.
It is quite clear that Sammy has a fetish of some sort with big cans when he refers to the girl as the plump one in plaid, that I liked better from the back-a really sweet can (Updike 372). Next Sammy focuses his attention on the tall, black haired girl. He views this young lady as pretty but not beautiful-the kind of girl other girls think is very striking and attractive but never quite makes it (Updike 370). Sammys sexual interest in this young female is described very overtly as he states not that as raw material she was so bad (Updike 373) right after he labels her as a Big Tall Goony-Goony (Updike 373).
Although he is attracted to all three girls, it is quite evident that Sammy is salivating as he sizes up Queenie. Sammys description of this broad is more vivid than the other two: The way she was wearing the straps on her bathing suit, the way she did her hair, and the way she carried herself makes her more attractive than the other two girlsshe just walked straight and slowly, on these long prim-donna legswith the straps pushed off, there was nothing between the top on the suit and the top of her head except just herit was more than pretty. e had sort of oaky hair that the sun and salt had bleached (Updike 370).
Even Queenies long neck turns Sammy on, and he state, The longer her neck was, the more of her there was (Updike 370). By the time Sammy is finished describing this queen, he is so excited that he sports an erection. The author of this story covertly unveils this fact by making his character, Sammy, state, it made my stomach rub the inside of my apron (Updike 370). Sammys fervor for these young females heightened as they passed by him time and time again as he stood idly at his register.
He even speculated as to which aisle the young girls would pop up in next. Sammy states, The whole store was like a pinball machine and I didnt know which tunnel theyd come out of (Updike 371). Sammys feelings of passion are mixed with rebellion as he witnesses his manager rebuking the young women for entering his Puritan domain in their sinful attire. Sammy is under the impression that these young ladies are the cream of the crop from some rich nearby neighborhood.
This is made evident by the way in which Sammy analyzes Queenies voice: My mother asked me to pick up a jar of herring snacks (Updike 372). Sammy undoubtedly picks up on this girls elite accent on the words pick up and snacks. He states that, All of a sudden I slid right down her voice into her living room (Updike 372). He envisions that Queenie is from a part of town where the men stand around in ice-cream coats and bow ties, and the women wear sandals while they pick up herring snacks on toothpicks off from an expensive glass plate (Updike 372).
It is obvious that Sammy perceives himself as being in a lower socioeconomic class than those of the girls by the statements he makes in contrast pertaining to the social functions of his own family. Schlitz in tall glasses with Theyll Do It Every Time cartoons stenciled on (Updike 372). Sammy also gives us the impression that the stores clientele is made up of a lower socioeconomic working class of people and bums. He mentions married women with six children and varicose veins mapping their legs and an old party in baggy gray pants who stumbles up with four giant cans of pineapple juice (Updike 371).
Sammy states that the women could care less in regard to their appearance, and he wonders what bums do with all that pineapple juice (Updike 371). I believe Sammys sexual hunger rises to the ultimate heat of passion when he decides to throw in the towel and follow these affluent broads. As he looks at Queenies breasts that he describes as the two smoothest scoops of vanilla I had even known were there (Updike 373), Sammy makes his final decision to quit. It is evident that he did this in hopes to impress these women by the way in which he loudly announces his resignation to the manager.
This was Sammys last, pitiful attempt to get these rich girls to notice him and take him to their world of utopia. Sammy soon realized that these girls either did not hear what he said, or may have heard and did not give a rip or even notice that he existed. At this point, I believe he felt like an idiot. The realization of the stupidity of his action is acknowledged by Sammy at the end of the story when he states that his stomach kind of fell as I felt how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter (Updike 373).