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A & P a Coming of Age Tale

             In his short story "A & P" John Updike utilizes a 19-year-old male to show us how a boy gets one-step closer to adulthood. Sammy, an A & P checkout clerk, talks to the reader with first person narration. The setting of the story shows us Sammy's position in life and where he really wants to be. Through the characterization of Sammy, Updike uses a simple heroic gesture to teach us that actions have consequences and we are responsible for our own actions.
             Sammy is a 19-year-old boy conveying a cocky but loveable male attitude. He describes three girls entering the A & P, setting the tone of the story. "In walk these three girls in nothing but bathing suits. There was this chunky one, with the two piece-it was bright green and the seams on the bra were still sharp and her belly was still pretty pale.there was this one, with one of those chubby berry-faces, the lips all bunched together under her nose, this one, and a tall one, with black hair that hadn't quite frizzed right.you know the kind of girl other girls think is very "striking" and "attractive" but never quite makes it' . She was the queen with "long white prima-donna legs." These descriptions of the young ladies clearly illustrate Sammy's lack of maturity. They depict Sammy as just another carefree male teen whose aspiration is to find a girl. Completely distracted by the girls, Sammy rings a box of HiHo crackers twice, infuriating the customer. He describes her as being " One of these cash-register-watchers, a witch of about fifty with rouge on her cheekbones and no eyebrows, and I know it made her day to.
             trip me up," sarcastically conveying his chauvinistic attitude toward women. .
             We learn about Sammy's station in life through the setting of the story. He is a simple checker at a small town A & P, not moving up in his job or down, simply stagnant. The town where Sammy lives is located five miles with a summer colony.
             on the Point.

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