Teenage years can be a complex and confusing stage of life that at times is further intensified by love and lust. In "A & P," John Updike portrays the actions and reactions of a teenager that becomes a victim of such feelings. For the task, Updike writes the short story as a subjective narration: It is through this point of view that the author can best present the favoritism, unique view, and partial growth the narrator presents throughout the story. .
First of all, it is important to establish that a subjective narration is a story told by a character that has already lived it. This is the only narration to always be characterized by large degree of subjectivity and unreliability. The character holds controversial values, forcing the reader to challenge and test his own perspectives. In this specific story, the juvenile nature of the narrator, Sammy, also, leaves room for personal growth. .
As a nineteen-year-old, Sammy's memory and narration of the events that took place at the A & P store are bias. Sammy subjectivity is most obviously seen in his character description. "Queenie" he describes as to having "white prima-donna legs a really sweet can [And] the two smoothest scoops of vanilla ever seen;" meanwhile Lengel becomes a "pretty dreary old and grey Sunday-school-superintendent." Influenced by Queenie's seductive looks, Sammy -most other teenagers in his position would- becomes impartial and rude toward Lengel, who reproaches the girls: " shoulders covered. It's our policy" [Lengel] turns his back. That's policy for you What the others want is juvenile delinquency." Due to the degree of Sammy's prejudice, Updike could only write the story as a subjective narrative.
Updike also uses this subjective narrative to freely reveal Sammy's unique views and values as a lusty teenager. Sammy seems to have several predetermined ideas. Even referring to one of the girls, Sammy states: "You know, the kind of girl other girls think is very "striking" but never quite makes it which is why they like her.