John Updike's short story "A&P", can be interpreted in several different ways. You can look deep into every detail of the short story or take it for only what is written, possibly leaving the reader with two completely opposite conclusions. The spin put on the story by the reader is really a way to reflect on own behavior.
"A&P" briefly follows a teenager named Sammy on what seems to be a regular day at work. Sammy is the average teenager, with a bland part-time job and raging hormones. These hormones create the story's conflict, as three bathing suit-clad girls enter his store. These three girls, perhaps unwittingly, denounce conventional behavior and challenge the normalcy of the store. Besides their clothes, they tend to wander aimlessly through out the store, disturbing the normal flow of traffic followed by other customers. Sammy gives an excellent description of this.
"The sheep pushing their carts down the aisle- the girls were walking.
against the usual traffic (Not that we have one- way signs or .
anything)- were pretty hilarious. You could see them, when Queenie's .
white shoulders dawned on them, kind of jerk, or hop, or hiccup-.
This "rebellious" behavior arouses Sammy's delight, along with the physical side of the girls. Sammy is so entranced by one of the girls he gives her the nickname "Queenie". Up to this point, Sammy has described the girl's physical appearance in a lot of detail and appears to merely be lusting after her, much like most teenage boys. Sammy's manager, Lengel, is not as amused as Sammy for the girls shopping in his store. The moment of suspense takes hold in a short paragraph while Sammy introduces his manager and describes his personality.
"Lengel comes in from haggling with a truck full of cabbages on the.
lot and is about to scuttle into that door marked MANGER behind .
which he hides all day when the girls touch his eye. Lengel's pretty .
dreary, teaches Sunday school and the rest, but he doesn't miss that .