John Updikes a ; P Is a Coming of Age Story Essay

John Updikes short narrative. A & A ; P is about a 19-year-old male child. Sammy. and his short but decisive transmutation from a unworried adolescent to a adult adult male with the effects of his actions weighing heavy on him in the terminal. On an otherwise ordinary twenty-four hours. the class of Sammys life is changed by an out of the ordinary experience which challenges him and compels him to do a roseola determination that is based on what he knows in his bosom is right for him. Sammy tells the narrative as if it is merely another twenty-four hours while the life-changing event unfolds in a mode of proceedingss. He gives insight about the town by giving short character descriptions that are uncovering. non merely of each character. but besides of Sammys feelings about the town. the people in it. and his personal position on the life that he is populating at that place. Although the character descriptions paint a negative image. the negativeness has more to make with Sammys idea of life in this town with these characters for much more of his immature life.

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It is clear that Sammy is more than ready to travel on. beyond where his life is now. Sammy offers few facts about himself other than that he is 19 and lives with his parents in a little. conservative. New England town. Sammy points out that the town is non far from the location of the Salem witch-hunts and combustions in centuries past. The slip to Salem leaves an image of a lingering puritanical cloud over the town and its people. The narrative takes topographic point in the A & A ; P food market shop in the bosom of the downtown country where Sammy works as a check-out procedure clerk. Sammys colleague. Stokes. is 22 old ages old and married with two kids. Stokes station in life represents a life style that is non out of range for Sammy. but surely non the life style that Sammy desires for his life although it is non clear even to Sammy what precisely the life style that he desires is. Sammys foreman. Mr. Lengel. who is a conservative and vocal adult male. is a Sunday school instructor and the director of the A & A ; P. Mr. Lengel is the living image of everything that Sammy does non of all time desire to be.

The client that Sammy refers to as the cash-register-watchers and a enchantress ( 560 ) is a character that epitomizes Sammys contempt for the attitude of the usual client that comes through his cheque out line on a day-to-day footing. every bit good as the full people of his little hometown. The life-altering event begins to blossom in the really first line of the narrative. In walks these three misss in nil but bathing suites ( 560 ) . The really first characters who are introduced in the narrative are everything that is non acceptable in this extremist conservative town. although the three misss bring with them a explosion of pure guiltless sunlight. Everyone in the shop lout at the three misss as if they have ne’er seen a miss in a bathing suit. The fact is that they likely had ne’er seen a miss in a bathing suit anyplace other than a topographic point to swim which emphasizes that this is an extremist conservative town with puritanical attitudes. Sammy and Stokes are really bemused with the sight of the misss and they enjoy every second of it.

Mr. Lengle. who doesnt miss that much ( 563 ) is to the full cognizant of the enjoyment that Sammy and Stokes are holding. Mr. Lengle insults the misss by stating them that they are non decently dressed. In the misss heads. uncluttered by the corporate oppressive attitude that is the norm in the shop. they are nice and see nil incorrect with their visual aspect. At this point. Sammy feels embarrassment for the misss and at the same clip realizes that he is portion of their embarrassment. because he is a portion of the corporate puritanical attitude. He besides realizes that this is a turning point for him. Sammy has arrived at a cross route in his immature life and he realizes that if he is of all time traveling to go what he sees for himself in his hereafter. and if he is of all time traveling to make what he genuinely desires in his life. he must do a determination.

He must make up one’s mind to interrupt free from the corporate attitude or stay a portion of it. Sammy makes the determination to interrupt free from the puritanical and oppressive attitude of all of the coevalss before him. Sammy quits his occupation and he does it while the misss are still in the shop hoping that the misss will take notice that he does non hold the same attitude and moral judgement of them and that he does non excuse it.

He hopes that the misss will see him as their hero. As Sammy takes off his A & A ; P apron and bow tie. he is casting the old puritanical positions and attitudes. As he walks out of the shop. he embraces his newfound freedom and coming of age. although he besides realizes that his parents will non be pleased. Sammy has known for some clip that this is what he would finally make. and this was the twenty-four hours. because the three misss provided a good ground and the chance for Sammy to asseverate himself. to go his ain individual with his ain position. values. ethical motives. beliefs and attitudes.

Plants Cited
Updike. John. A & A ; P. The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature. Ed. Michael Meyer. 8th erectile dysfunction. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins. 2009. 560-64.


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