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January 22, 2013

Shopping for Insight in John Updike’s “A & P”


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Class,

In the comment box below,

. . . the note-taker/scribe from each group should retype the question your group discussed today in class and provide an answer with quotations from the text to support your answers. You MUST put the page number (or, paragraph number if there are no page numbers) in parentheses after any quotation used.

Enter your work on this text as prescribed in class. For example:

Remember: I have to "approve" all comments so you won't see it immediately after posting. After hitting submit, you should see a screen that confirms this.

We are beginning to use some concepts in our discussions that you may or may have had practice using before. I want to be sure that you have a clear understanding of the words we use in class (no more blank stares!) so be sure you are looking up words you don't feel you yet "own" (means, making it a part of your personal vocabulary) by utilizing your dictionaries to the fullest.

Dr. Hobbs

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A & P
Get More: A & P

Posted by lhobbs at January 22, 2013 08:19 PM

Readers' Comments:

6 November 2008

ENG 122 Students:

Per your instructions received in today's class meeting:

(1) retype the question you answered "in-class" today and then give your answer in the comment box below AND turnitin.com and,

(2) answer the question for the take-home quiz you were assigned as homework: that is, the number next to your name on the sign up sheet today is the open-book quiz question you should answer from the list of questions below. Also due on turnitin.com in its own folder. Due at our next class meeting. Community service day is on the 11th.

Out-of-Class Open-Book Quiz Questions for Updike’s “A & P”

 

INSTRUCTIONS: Before our next class meeting, enter the answer to the question you registered for on the attendance sheet (first, re-type the question) and submit digitally to BOTH turnitin.com and the English-blog (this is a quiz). You should show evidence/verification in your answer by using our text and incorporating page numbers and line numbers into your answer. To get credit for your answer, use specific examples and quotations.  This assignment is in ADDITION to entering the answer to the question you answered in class. Two separate assignments but both in the same places.

 

1.     (a) If you were in Sammy’s position, would you have made the same decision? Explain.
(b) Where in “A&P” does the dramatic conflict become apparent? What moment in the story brings the crisis? What is the climax of the story?

2.     (a) Describe Sammy. What is your reaction to his description of the girls and what he says about the customers?
(b) Is the supermarket setting vital to the story? Could the story have been set in a car wash? In a fast-food restaurant? In a business office? Why or why not?

3.     (a)What values and attitudes does Sammy assume about the fifty year-old woman and the other “sheep,” to Queenie and her family, to Mr. Lengel, to his own family? How accurate are Sammy’s judgments about the other characters? How might the characters be portrayed if the story were told be Lengel? To what extent is he guilty of oversimplification?
(b)What is the role of Stokesie? To what extent does he serve as a foil (a character who by contrast highlights the qualities or characteristics of another character) to Sammy?

4.     (a)What attitudes cause Mr. Lengel to be angry with the girls? Is his anger justified?
Does anything lead you to expect Sammy to make some gesture of  sympathy for the three the girls? (b)What incident earlier in the story (before Sammy quits) seems a foreshadowing?

5.     (a) Why does Sammy quit his job so suddenly? Is his gesture genuinely heroic or is it merely the misguided idealism of a rebellious adolescent? How is it prepared for earlier in the story? Why is it ironic?
(b) What do you think Sammy means when he says, “Now here comes the sad part of the story, at least my family says it’s sad but I don’t think so myself”?

6.     (a) At the end of the story Sammy says, “I felt how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter.” What does he mean? What do you think he learned from this experience?
(b) Notice how artfully Updike arranges details to set the story in a perfectly ordinary supermarket. What details stand out as particularly true to life? What does this close attention to detail contribute to the story?

7.     (a)What part of the story seems to be an exposition? Of what value to the  story is carefully detailed portrait of Queenie, the leader of the three girls?
(b) As the story develops, what change in Sammy’s feelings do you detect toward the girls?

8.     POINT-OF-VIEW: How important is perspective in literature?  Rewrite the first paragraph of this story in the third person (you can pencil in changes on the text—be prepared to read back some of back to the class in third person). Why do you think Updike wrote it in the first person? Which version do you think is better? Why?

9.     CONFLICT WITH ESTABLISHMENT: Where is YOUR local grocery store?  If three girls in bathing suits walked into your local supermarket, what do you think the reaction would be today? Has society’s attitude towards such issues as “dress” changed or remained essentially the same in the past forty years? How would you (or, other people) react if three girls walked into a class at SLU in their bathing suit? In the library? In the church building?  Does society still put limits on people for matters as trivial as “dress”? What, for example?

10.   THEME: We have discussed theme as a major way to approach the discussion/analysis of literature. You know many of them: Injustice, Inequality, Racism, Tradition, etc.  What themes are in “A & P”?  If you were to make this story into a film that takes place today in this year, what song would you have playing over the store’s speakers? Think of the themes involved in BOTH the story and the song as you make your decision.

11.   TRANSFORMATION: Good stories, it seems, have characters that transform after they have become “enlightened.” Remember Plato’s Cave?  At the end of the story, Sammy says “I felt how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter.” What apparent epiphany has Sammy had?  Do you think he is insightful or naive about his own character and the future?  Why or why not?

Don't forget to keep up with your readings. Your annotated bibliography is due on turnitin.com and in class for our next meeting. Don't forget! (it's on the itinerary).

Dr. Hobbs

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Dominique S.
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122.CA1
11 Nov. 2008

8) Many critics regard the ending as ambiguous. Do you share Sammy’s pessimism about his future, or are you optimistic? Do you think quitting his job was a pointless gesture or a noble action?

I am optimistic about Sammy’s future because life does not end once you have quit or lose a job. Once you have drive and motivation to continue the possibilities are endless. I think him quitting his job was pointless because he could have pulled his boss on the side later to resolve the issue. The girls did not even care about his noble gesture because they just left. It was like he was willing to lose so much for people who were not willing to lose a thing for him.

Posted by: Dr. Hobbs at November 11, 2008 08:19 PM

4. (a)What attitudes cause Mr. Lengel to be angry with the girls? Is his anger justified?
Does anything lead you to expect Sammy to make some gesture of sympathy for the three the girls? (b)What incident earlier in the story (before Sammy quits) seems a foreshadowing?

The girls pretentious attitudes caused Mr. Lengel to be angered. His is justifiable because from his perspective he is older than them and they should obey and listen to him, and not answer back. The fact that Sammy takes so much interest in the treatment of the three does tell that he is sympathetic to the situation, but no clues in the story show that he will make a gesture of sympathy. In A&P, on page 21, he says, “Now here comes the sad part of the story, at least my family says it’s sad, but I don’t think it’s so sad myself.” This line tells us that his stories ending is not positive one in the eyes of his family, which hints that the situation may have affected him that is why his family has so much insight. By him taking so much interest in the situation and view the situation so much, it is obvious he is thinking about what is happening very strongly.

Posted by: Dominique Smith at November 11, 2008 08:45 PM

QUESTION 5

a) Why does Sammy quit his job so suddenly? Is his gesture genuinely heroic or is it merely the misguided idealism of a rebellious adolescent? How is it prepared for earlier in the story? Why is it ironic?
Sammy was hoping that the girls say I quit and be an unsuspecting hero to them. Sammy was just trying to look like a responsible guy to the girls as he was trying to stand up for them. The girls not even interested in hearing Sammy hurried out of the store. Sammy in the beginning describes how no one in the town usually walks in with one piece bathing suits with the shoulders coming off of them. Normally older ladies would generally cover up with shorts and a shirt. This creates a problem because the manager does not allow this in his stores. He was not in this store how ever at this time so it was not an issue if we had known this we would have been able to see the foreshadowing that Updike was trying to give us.


(b) What do you think Sammy means when he says, “Now here comes the sad part of the story, at least my family says it’s sad but I don’t think so myself”?

Sammy feels that what he has done is a heroic thing standing up for those girls to his boss. The boss is a friend of the family how ever so to them him quitting means the parents are letting down one of their friends. Sammy states he has just turned 19 this could mean he is heading off to college and needs to help pay for it so after quitting the job he wont be making more money to help pay.

Posted by: John Baron at November 12, 2008 02:46 PM

John Updike’s A&P
My question to answer in class was would the story be any different if it were not in a supermarket and I think the story would much different if not in a supermarket because of the simple fact of how Sammy would be judgmental of the women he “critiqued” as they walked in and out and through the checkout. If it were a clothing store or something else retail it might have been the same. But anything different where he didn’t have to stand around all day looking at nothing too interesting or do anything really exciting would have probably made the story a whole lot different due to the fact that he might have actually doing something. He wouldn’t have time to make these well thought out descriptions like “She was a chunky kid, with a good tan and a sweet broad soft-looking can with those two crescents of white just under it, where the sun never seems to hit, at the top of the backs of her legs.” That sounds to me like a description of someone who has way too much time on his hands, even on the job. This certainly wouldn’t happen if Sammy was working, say in construction. He definitely would have been looking at girls as they walked by during his lunch break going by the popular stereotype. But during working time he would be 100 percent focused on the task at hand because if not, he could get injured or maybe worse.

2) Sammy is a bored young man at a typical teenager type job, just trying to make some kind of entertainment for himself by watching and judging the girls that walk into the supermarket. He thinks to himself throughout most of the story and he says things like” and a tall one, with black hair that hadn't quite frizzed right, and one of these sunburns right across under the eyes, and a chin that was too long -- you know, the kind of girl other girls think is very ‘striking’.” These kinds of thoughts are given by a teenager whose body is running rampant with hormones and needs something to occupy his time a little better at work. He a general teenager by the fact of his impulse decision to just up and quit for his own reasons which seem to make sense at the time and it made him look cool, but I am sure he would later realize out of the story that he made a bad mistake in quitting his job.
The supermarket setting is very vital in the plot of the story because in a car wash he couldn’t make these full body descriptions of these females and if it was in a fast food restaurant, he could make his descriptions, but not as much in depth because you are not waiting as long as in a supermarket and he has more time to look at them since they have to walk around the store to find what they are looking for. This story could not even exist in a business setting because for one, no girls would be walking in in bikinis on a regular basis and secondly, his descriptions would not be as fluid and plentiful as how they are now, and lastly, I am sure he would way too pre-occupied with some kind of work because it is usually very busy working in a business setting.

Posted by: Brandon Sartor at November 12, 2008 04:30 PM

9. CONFLICT WITH ESTABLISHMENT: Where is YOUR local grocery store? If three girls in bathing suits walked into your local supermarket, what do you think the reaction would be today? Has society’s attitude towards such issues as “dress” changed or remained essentially the same in the past forty years? How would you (or, other people) react if three girls walked into a class at SLU in their bathing suit? In the library? In the church building? Does society still put limits on people for matters as trivial as “dress”? What, for example?
My local grocery store is an A&P and it’s located on route 31 North. If I saw a girl wearing a bathing suit I would look at her but I guess it’s not as big a deal. I wouldn’t think it was horrible. Society’s opinion about dress has changed in a big way. Many people dress sultry and they don’t care. Our world is becoming desensitized and many people don’t care. It really depends on the place, because Church is not a good place to wear a bathing suit to. Certain places have certain unspoken dress codes that they must follow.

Posted by: Mary Chuhinko at November 13, 2008 02:07 PM

Question2Sammy acts the way he does is because he is a nineteen year old kid. He is going to look at girls and make comments about them, he is not a weird person he is just over sexed and that’s all he is thinking about in his mind. I know that nineteen yearolds are very concerned about that sort of thing, I also feel it was right of him to stand up to his manager the way that he did.

Posted by: John Baron at November 13, 2008 02:09 PM

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*NOTE* The deadline for this particular assignment has now passed. Any comments listed below are *ONLY* for the reposting of comments that I specifically asked to be revised or are ones from non-student posters. Any 'student' posts below that missed the assignment deadline will not get credit for the assignment.

~Dr. Hobbs

Posted by: Dr. Hobbs at November 13, 2008 03:53 PM

Joshua Green
Professor Hobbs
Eng 122 CA17
1/19/2009

This classic short story by John Updike is about a young man named Sammy in a little town north of Boston at the A&P grocery store. One sunny day in the store, Sammy finds himself in the presence of three young girls who mosey around the aisles in revealing bathing suits. Sammy finds himself picking apart details about each girl throughout the story and thoughtfully observes their every move in the store. The A&P grocery store has a slight clothing policy, like most grocery stores usually do, which is the catalyst that sparks conflict between Sammy, Queenie and his manager Lengel near the end of the story. “Queenie” is the term used to describe one of the three girls because Sammy sees her as their leader. Sammy becomes quite fond of the other girl who had, in Sammy’s words, “a really sweet can”, but in the end it is the Queen whose scarce clothing draws attention from the all seeing Lengel. After a bit of shopping, the girls go to checkout at Sammy’s register. Up until then Sammy had entertained many thoughts about the girl’s appearance but now the girls were confronted by the manager Lengel. “Girls, this isn’t the beach”, Lengel repeated to the girls and gave notice to the sign located on the entrance. Queenie begins to plea her case but when Lengel uses phrases like, "We want you decently dressed when you come in here," the girls are embarrassed and begin to make their exit. Then all of a sudden Sammy’s mood changes as the ladies begin out the door, Sammy utters the words “I quit.” Hoping that the girls would recognize his heroism, he watches them carefully and repeats himself, “I quit.” The girls pay no mind and now Sammy is caught without a way to go back on his words. Lengel expresses his feelings on the situation but it’s too late. Sammy respectfully puts down his apron and makes his way through the automatic doors into the sunlight. With his ladies nowhere in sight, Sammy now realizes that sometimes doing the right thing doesn’t always work in your favor.

I believe the main point of this story was the meaning of Sammy’s rebellion in a situation that didn’t immediately yield positive results. He found himself defending a girl who never noticed him and like other hopeless romantics, Sammy took a huge chance for a girl and things didn’t turn out the way he planned.

Posted by: Josh Green at January 19, 2009 10:29 PM

Michael Balice
Professor McCuistion
Eng122
January 27,2009
Queen Bee
Three Females walk into a supermarket; and each of them is described by the narrator. The A&P supermarket is none other than ordinary. The narrator’s name is Sammy, and he tells a quick, concise story about how these three women change his life without even knowing that they do so. The story, however, comes to an abrupt ending when Sammy quit his job as a cashier and foresees not only the responsibilities of life but independence and pride as well.
Sammy portrays a character in the story that he names Queen as the most beautiful person he has ever laid eyes on. “She held her head so high her neck, coming up out of those white shoulders, looked kind of stretched, but I didn't mind. The longer her neck was the more of her there was ” (Updike 2). Sammy is infatuated by Queen that which leads to the demise of his job and or any responsibilities he once holds.
Queen is wearing a bathing suit with her straps folded off of her shoulders. She walks over to Sammy’s aisle, giving, him a great sensation of opportunity. The feeling didn’t last too long when Sammy’s boss, Lengel, comes over to them and makes a rude comment to Queen. He comes over and says, "Girls, this isn't the beach" (Updike 4). She replies saying that she is decently dressed While Sammy nods his head in approval, feeling as though she is dressed just fine. Sammy portrays Queen as a rich, classy girl because of the way she carries herself, and because of the fancy herring snacks she brings to the cash register.
After the comment is made, a few words are exchanged before Queen becomes embarrassed and looks for the nearest exit. Sammy says as loud as he can that he quits on the grounds that he doesn’t like the way Lengel speaks to Queen, hoping that she would hear his response. This is hard for Sammy to do, knowing that Lengel is a close friend of the family. Sammy has put forth so much effort to the situation that it is impossible for him to turn back, swallow his pride, and apologize. Sammy simply just walks out hoping to see his “Queen”. He doesn’t see her, and he sits outside for a minute and ponders while his stomach fills up with a nauseating feeling. Sammy just then realizes he has relinquished himself from all responsibilities, and this will upset his parents.
Sammy accomplishes nothing except for realizing every reaction has a consequence, and things that seem important at the time ultimately may not be of the highest priority. Queen shows Sammy a sense of independence. He stands up for Queen without her even knowing, while Lengel shows him that being responsible and not naïve is usually the best choice. Sammy’s perception of life changed that day when he quits his job because, in the end, he leaves the conflict with nothing to show from it except maybe a lesson and or changing his perception of his young, inexperienced mind.


Posted by: michael Balice at January 27, 2009 08:49 AM

Alicia Roddenberg
Dr. Hobbs
02-11-09
Eng 122 CA16
Plot of John Updike’s “A&P”
Updike opens this short story with the entering of the major characters into the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company. We gather that the protagonist of the story is the narrator who we are able to presume is a male, who we later learn is named Sammie. Immediately we are able to identify there is some sort of conflict between the workers and shoppers of the A&P and the three teenaged girls who have entered the store in their bathing suits. With the arrival of the three girls, the immediate attitude of the narrator is different. This allows for the reader to be curious of what will happen next, and the narrator through hid descriptions holds our interest. The story begins and develops through the authors chosen conflicts.
The narrator helps to give the reader descriptive details of the three teenaged girls who enter the grocery store. At this point in the story the plot has to do with the three girls in their bikinis, yet we are unable to determine the conflict. As they proceed around the grocery store the story remains with the conflict unidentified and resolved. Finally after a trip around the store the girls enter Sammie’s check-out line, and place their one jar oh Kingfish Fancy Herring Snacks in Pure Sour Cream down. This point is relevant to the plot because the major conflict in the story is based around it.
The manager of the Store, Lengel remarks on the girls’ lack of clothing, “We want you decently dressed when you come in here” (Updike 22). This shows conflict of values or ideals between characters. The girls claim they are decently dressed, as Sammie feels a need to impress these girls. This shows the most evidence to Sammie’s own personal internal dilemma.
The story has reached its climax, where all the previous events have led to this major point. Once the girls are confronted by the manager, Sammie decides he needs to be heroic and quit. He is infuriated by the manager embarrassing those girls to no extent. Once Sammie leaves the building the girls he was trying to impress are nowhere in sight. Though Sammie’s goal was to impress the girls by quitting his job and taking a stand for them her was over all unsuccessful and will “feel this for the rest of his life” (Updike 23). In the end of the story, the protagonist is left changed in a positive and negative way. He stood up for what he believed in which could be looked at in a positive light, yet to contrast that he quit his job. “In a well-plotted story or play, one thing proceeds or follows another not simply because time ticks away but because effects follow causes” (Roberts 93).
In Updikes A&P, there are a few conflicts which help to create the plot within this story. There is conflict between the girls and Sammie, between the girls and the manager, Sammie and the manager, and also Sammie and himself. Within these conflicts the story is able to develop a purpose and gives it a sense of meaning. Everything is happening because of a previous action.


Works Cited
Roberts, Edgar V. Writing about Literature. Brief 11th ed. Saddle River, NJ: Pearson,
2006. page 93-108.
Updike, John. “A&P”. A Prentice Hall pocket reader Literature.
edited by Mary McAleer Balkun. Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2005. pages 18-23

Posted by: Alicia Roddenberg at February 16, 2009 11:45 PM

Ryan Baumgardner
Dr B. Lee Hobbs
ENGL 122

February 17, 2009
Life of a Young Cashier in A&P

The story of A&P was very deceiving when it came to the structure of the plot. John Updike did a good job of building up to the climax, while not allowing readers to have foreseen the characters next action. Updike introduces the main character Sammy very quickly in the book. Sammy is a young man who works as a cashier at a local grocery store. While slowly introducing smaller characters such as other cashiers and what not, Updike doesn’t put much focus on them except for the three girls. The story is about three girls who come into a grocery store and look very out of place because they are in bathing suits. The store manager embarrasses the girls, which makes the cashier Sammy quit.
He puts a very good image in your head for the setting. He describes the town to be a coastal town in geography, but the town that is settled in North Boston is not seen as a beach town. This setting sets us up to understand why everyone stares at the girls when they enter the store in nothing but their bathing suits. “Everyone stared at the girls, every movement was watched.”(22). The protagonist in this story is the cashier Sammy, the reader gets that feeling right away. While I was unsure of who the antagonist was throughout the story, he finally appeared. It was Lengel, who was the store manager for A&P. Their conflict had do with how Lengel embarrassed the girls, and how Sammy stood up for them by quitting his job. In the Sammy lost his job and really one nothing, but you never know what experiences he had just gained.

Works Cited.

Updike.John “A&P.” A Prentice Hall Pocket Reader Literature. Ed. Balkun M. Mary. .Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006. (19-23 )

Posted by: Ryan Baumgardner at February 17, 2009 09:17 AM

Sonia Perez
Dr. Lee Hobbs
Academic Writing 2 Eng 122 CA16
24 February 2009

Setting of “A & P”
According to Edgar V. Roberts, “Setting is the natural, manufactured, political, and
temporal environment, including everything that characters know and own” (109). The setting
of John Updike’s “A &P” is in a public building and it is historical circumstances, because the
location is a grocery store in a small Massachusetts town in the 1960s. This scene reflects old values in small towns and it affect one rather naive character.
Sammy, a young man who works in the store, notices three girls in bathing suits by the
bread aisle. He follows every foot step these girls make in the store. He observes the three girls, while they are walking around. The three girls are sauntering towards the meat section disrupting the traffic in the aisle. Sammy thinks it is amusing since the people seem to completely ignore them. “But there was no doubt, this jiggled them. A few houseslaves in pin curlers even looked around…to make sure what they had seen was correct” (Updike 20). The customers are not used to seeing girls in just their bathing suits since the store is not close to any beaches, and it is usually older women that have shorts or a shirt on if they just came from the beach. The area of the A & P store affects the characters thoughts and actions towards the girls because it is a small town people expect the girls to be properly dressed.
This episode Sammy starts to imagine another scene when one of the girls says, “My
mother asked me to pick up a jar of herring snacks” (Updike 21). He thinks that it is going to be a fancy party for guests, when his parents just have some cheap things for company. While he
is creating this scene in his head, the girls are in trouble with the manager in the store. The
manager is an old man who teaches Sunday classes. He embarrasses the girls by telling them
“this is not a beach” and next time to put on some clothes. One girl answers back that they are
“decent”, which in the 1960’s they find that disrespectful for the girls to talk back. Sammy feels that the girls should have not gone through embarrassment in front of people, so he quits. He does this since he believes that he is a hero to the girls. When he goes outside, the girls are gone. Now Sammy feels the guilt of quitting his job for a group of girls that did not care.
The setting of Updike’s “A & P” influences Sammy. It’s in an A & P store in a small
town where the people living there have old values and a place where they come together. The
town’s people hold on to those elders should be respected, and Sammy wants it to be changed.

Works Citied

Roberts, Edgar V. Writing About Literature. Brief 11th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2006. 109.

Updike, John. Literature: A Prentice Hall Pocket Reader. Mary McAleer Balkun. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2005. 18-23.

Posted by: Sonia P. at February 23, 2009 04:17 PM

Michelle Youngblood
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 122 CA 16
March 3, 2009
A&P: Values in the eye of older people
The way a character acts can help distinguish what the theme of a story is. Not only does a character’s action help tell the theme, but statements made by a character also helps.
Roberts tells of five ways to find an idea in his text. Those five are: Study the Authorial Voice, study the character and the words of the first-person speaker, study the statements made by character, study the work’s figure of speech, study how character represent ideas, and study the work itself as an embodiment of ideas. (Roberts 122-23) The actions of the manger of the A&P store set the theme for A&P by John Dike. In the story, Lengel gets upset at the three girls in the store because they are wearing their bathing suits in the store. “We want you decently dressed when you come in here.” (Balkun 22) One of Saint Leo University’s core values is respect. By the way Lengel speaks he makes it seem as though the way the girls dress is disrespect to them and other. “We want you decently dressed when you come in here.” (22) The theme of A&P is basically about values and respect in the eye of older people. Lengel, who is older than Sammy does not like that the girls in the store dressed the way they are, while Sammy does not have a problem with it. Near the beginning of the story Sammy admired one of the girls in the store. “The one that caught my eye first was the one in the plaid green two-piece.” (18) Later Lengel comes out and tells the girls this is not the beach. (21) In A&P it shows how different older people are compared to younger people. Also, the actions of the characters and the statements they say help support the theme of the story.
References
Balkun, Mary McAleer. A&P. A Prentice Hall Pocket Reader. Ed. By Mary McAleer Balkun. Upper Saddle River: New Jersey, 2005.
Roberts, Edgar V. Writing About Literature. Brief 11th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2006. 68,285.

Posted by: Michelle Youngblood at March 3, 2009 07:49 AM

Brittany Thunberg
Dr. Hobbs
Academic Writing II CA16
9 March 2009

Youth’s Curse
“A & P” written by John Updike is a short story about three young girls going into a grocery store dressed in bathing suits. This short story is filled with symbolism. Updike uses symbolism throughout this work to help readers really understand the characters within the story. The symbolism and description used throughout this work makes it easy for readers to understand the story and the characters that Updike introduces.
Updike uses symbolism early in this short story. The main character Sammy is a cashier at the A & P who is distracted by the young girls in swim suits; until he is bothered by an old woman who Sammy refers to as a “witch.” After Sammy refers to the older woman as a witch, Updike uses symbolism again when he refers to Sammy calming her down as getting her “feathers smoothed.” (18) Using this type of language in reference to the old woman is symbolism. This old woman is a symbol of frustration and impatience.
Updike continues using symbolism when he is introducing readers to “Queenie” and the way that Sammy views her. “Walking into the A & P with your straps down, I suppose it’s the only kind of face you can have.” (Updike 19) Queenie is one of the three girls that come into the A & P with just their bathing suits on. She is described as the more attractive out of the three as well as the most poised. Queenie symbolizes youth and vitality in this short story. Queenie is alluring and mysterious to Sammy. Although she appears to be just another teenage girl to readers, she stands for something that Sammy yearns for. “When we first see a symbol in literature, it may seem to carry no more weight then its surface meaning.” (Roberts 129)
Finally Updike uses Sammy’s boss Lengel to symbolize regret and misery. Lengel is frustrated old man who seems as though he has a “cold heart.” You can see that he is miserable because he takes time to thoroughly embarrass the young girls in the store, when it really isn’t necessary to take it to the extreme. He embarrasses them in front of the employees as well as the customers. Lengel reminds Sammy of someone that he never wants to become. Updike’s symbolism used throughout the work makes the short story believable and entertaining.

Works Cited

Jackson, Shirley. “A & P.”A Prentice Hall Pocket Reader:Literature. Edited by Mary McAleer Balkun. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2005. 18-23.
Roberts, Edgar V. Writing About Literature. Brief 11th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2006. 129-143.
Works Cited

Posted by: Brittany Thunberg at March 10, 2009 01:48 AM

Sarah Hatcher
Dr. Hobbs
18 February, 2013

Question:Look closely at the dialogue between Stokesie and Sammy after the sixth paragraph of the story.
To what, exactly, are the two gentlemen “reacting”? If this scenario were to take place today, what
might the public’s reaction be? Is this sort of attitude normal? Expected? Perverted? Misogynist?

Answer: Sammy and Stokesie reacted very weirdly to the girls coming in. Though they were not dressed appropriately, the boys gawked at them and made in very uncomfortable. Today if someone did that, even if they were young they would be considered a sick person for being so provacative. Though it is expected from a young man, he needs to keep his thoughts to himself and not make it so obvious.

Posted by: Sarah Hatcher at February 18, 2013 10:06 PM

Terrance Browne
Dr.Hobbs
ENG122
18/February/2013

Question:It might be said that “A&P” is something of a modern-day “fairy-tale.” Would you agree with this
assessment? (Stereotype Characters) Who would the “prince,” the “princess,” the “dragon,” etc. be
in “A&P” Be creative and think of as many analogies as you can. What are the similarities to “A&P” and a typical fairy-tale? How are they different (for example, the final outcome)? Is
Sammy chivalric (means having the idealistic qualities of a knight in the medieval times of
chivalry)?

Answers: To me A and P is in all ways the very example of a modern day fairytale because of the courage of the teen who decides to defend the womans honor. The prince would be Sammy, I feel like he would be this because he is the one who we want to root for and the one who is falling in love with Queenie, the princess would be Queenie since this is the girl the main character is trying hard to go after, and Lengel the store manger is the who be the dragon because he is the one that the main character faces the most problems with because he telling Sammy he should stay and work instead of going after the girls and he is making him choose whether he should keep his job or get the girl of his dreams.Also the whole story comes off like a fairy tale also like the end of the story "I quit" Lengel quick enough for them to hear, hoping they'll stop and watch me, their unsusected hero."(22,Updike)

Posted by: Terrance Browne at February 18, 2013 11:44 PM

Peter Mercadante
Dr.Hobbs
Eng. 122 CAO5 Academic Writting II
19 February 2013


Question: (Setting) What era would you place the setting of this story? Does the text indicate any reference to dates? Discuss Sammy’s description of the year 1990.

Answer: The era that would best fit the setting is somewhere in the 60's. In the story the narrator refers the the 1990's being sometime in the future but also throughout the story he makes several remarks towards Russia being the leader, which is something that would be often said during the 60's and times on communism. Such remarks can be found on page 20, "Great Alexandrov" remarks.

Posted by: Peter Mercadante at February 19, 2013 10:41 PM

Rannell Smith
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 CA 05
19 February 2013

Question: In a nutshell, how would you describe Mr. Lengel? Look in the text for all the clues about him. What are his responsibilities? What is his role in the community? Would you peg him as a liberal, a moderate, or a conservative? How do his social politics compare to Sammy’s, for example? What about the other workers in the store: how are their values like or unlike Mr. Lengel’s?

Answer: Lengel is Sammy's boss, the stale manager of the A&P. “He didn't like my smiling – as I say he doesn't miss much, but he concentrates on giving the girls that sad Sunday school-superintendent stare.” (Updike 14) In addition to being manager of the A&P, Lengel teaches Sunday school. These two positions give him power in his community. In the story, this is shown as the power to dictate what people wear and the power to be bad mannered and get away with it. He is the story's villain or antagonist, the guy who embarrasses the girls and threatens Sammy with a horrible future. Moreover, Lengel is more of a conservative because he is old fashioned and traditional. "That makes no difference," Lengel tells her, and I could see from the way his eyes went that he hadn't noticed she was wearing a two-piece before. "We want you decently dressed when you come in here." (Updike 17) In this quote, Lengel does not approve with the way the girls were dress and being a conservative, he had to make it known. “You didn’t have to embarrass them. It was they who were embarrassing us” (Updike 26-27). Furthermore, this altercation between Sammy and Lengel shows their conflicting principles. Lengel sees the girls as being disrespectful and thinks they are purposely violating the traditional rules just to cause trouble. However, Sammy does not think that it is right to behave bad-mannered.

Posted by: Rannell Smith at February 20, 2013 07:34 AM

Colby Johnson
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 122 CA05 Academic Writing 2
20 February 2013

Question:Talk about the fashions that the narrator describes in “A&P.” Be ready to read-back to the class any particular lines that describe the clothing. What do you think that Sammy would consider a “formal” and “informal” style of dress?

Answer: The narrator describes the fashion sense of a beach town where not many people seem to care about their appearance. That being said, people still tend to cover themselves up when they go from the beach to a public place. This is shown by the quote from the 4th paragraph of page 20 "But we're right in the middle of town, and women usually tend to put on shorts and a shirt..." I would argue that Sammy doesn't really have an opinion as to what "informal" and "formal" dress are. The bathing suits did not bother him, and since the narrator did not say anything about any other people complaining, I would think it is safe to say that the only person offended was the manager.

Posted by: Colby Johnson at February 20, 2013 08:58 AM

Octavia Robinson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122
20 February 2013

Question: 1. Why is the title of this short story “A & P”? Would another title have worked just as well or is this one somehow appropriate to the story? (Setting) What role does the grocery store itself play in the story?

Answer: The reason why the title of the short story is called A&P is because the story takes place in a A&P grocery store. This title seems to be appropriate it represents that there is nothing unusual about the store and nothing unusual about the people. The setting adds to how we perceive the 3 girls. We expect to see girls in bathing suits on the beach but not shopping for pineapple juice. It also brings up that fact that now most grocery stores have the policy no shirt/shoes no service. The author expresses how the locals feel when the store owner comes out to confront the girls. The shop owner states, "Girls this isn't the beach". Showing we expect to see girls in swim suits walking around on the beach or at the pool.

Posted by: Octavia Robinson at February 20, 2013 09:28 AM

Alexandra Rivera-Vega
Hobbs
ENG 122 CA05
20 Feb 2013

Question: In Literature, a work like “A&P” is called a “coming-of-age” story. It usually suggests a loss of innocence or an “epiphany” that leads to maturity. Sometimes this means accepting responsibility (and becoming more like an adult). Think back on either books or films that you have experienced either in or out of this class that might have the “coming-of-age” theme. Make a list and share it with the class, e.g., Pretty in Pink, Stand by Me, Stealing Beauty, etc. Finally, consider the protagonist of “A&P” and the “change” that occurs in his character; decide why a label like “coming-of-age” is (or isn’t) appropriate to this story.

Answer: Movie that might have the "coming-of-age" theme is Walk Out. I believe that a label like "coming-of-age" is very appropriate for this story because it's how the story progressed.

Posted by: Alexandra rivera-vega at February 20, 2013 09:48 AM

Alison Schucht
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA05
20 February 2013

Question: How does Updike describe the other “shoppers” in the market? There are at least six examples; see if you can find them. What do all of the words that describe the customers have in common? Are they a positive or negative characterization?

Answer: Sammy describes the other shoppers in a belittling manner. For one, he calls the middle-aged woman in the beginning of the story a "witch" (Updike, 18). The other few names he calls his customers are "sheep" (Updike, 19), "house slaves" (Updike, 20), "bums" (Updike, 21), and "pigs" (Updike, 23). All of these names are similar in the fact that these names are all worthless. Sammy can easily read his customers based on their actions and therefore belittles them with worthless nicknames. These descriptions are negative characterizations.

Posted by: Alison Schucht at February 20, 2013 10:33 AM

Brynn Laverdure
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 122 CA08
February 25, 2013

Question: 5. Discuss the element of “hypocrisy” in the story. For example, Sammy wonders why it seems okay for the townspeople to see people in their swimsuits at the beach but not at the market. What other examples of hypocrisy can you identify in the story? Is there anything about Sammy that comes across as hypocritical?

Answer: Sammy quits in order to "defend" the girls, mostly because he wants to be a hero so he looks good to them. But by quitting he too is "embarrassing" his family just as Lengel embarrassed the girls. Lengel says to Sammy, "Sammy, you don't want to do this to your mom and dad"(Updike 23). In the end all Sammy does is lose his job for no reason because the girls don't even care that he did that for them.

Posted by: Brynn Laverdure at February 25, 2013 09:54 AM

Taina Valcarcel and Ryan MacCarthy
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA08
September 14, 2013

Question: Consider the possibility that Updike might have contrasted the indoor world of the
A&P where Sammy and his co-workers “existed” (synthetic, artificial) with the outdoor world from where the girls came in (natural). Be creative, but try to point out examples from the text, and show how these two “worlds” differ. For example, you might think about the fake, fluorescent lights in the store and the “real” sun outside that can give someone “sunburn.” Like Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” is there a difference/contrast between the world “inside” the A&P and the outside world?

Answer: The difference between the inside and outside world the narrator talks about are few. One of the differences is that women seem to be dominant in the outside world with their looks and demeanor. an example of this is shown in the story,"She was the queen. She kind of led them, the other two peeking around making their shoulders round" (Updike, 18). Another example of this would be that the grocery store had a majority of male employees,so women inside their world around their age was a rare sight.

Posted by: Taina & Ryan at October 14, 2013 02:14 PM

Jeffrey Wingfield Sade Loiseau
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 CA08 Academic Writing II
14 October 2013
Look closely at Mr. Lengel’s reaction to Sammy’s resignation. Lengel says that Sammy will
“always feel this.” Sammy agreed with Mr. Lengel. What does that mean? Do you think that
Sammy will really never forget this? Why or why not? What do you think Sammy will remember
[or have learned] from this incident some years down the road?
Mr. Lengel sees Sammy’s resignation as a rash, poorly thought through decision and wants him to consider it more carefully. This decision has the potential to adversely affect the course of Sammy’s life and cause him substantial regret. If the decision turns out to be the wrong one he will never forget it but if he has examined it properly and is making the right choice he will still never forget it as a coming of age/ jumping off point where his adult life began. It was obviously an epiphany in his life because he, the narrator, is recalling it. He realizes the way the world is and that he has to work, regardless of what the girls have to do.

Posted by: Jeffrey Wingfield Sade Loiseau at October 14, 2013 02:15 PM

Maryerie Rojas, Emma De Rhodo
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA 08
14 October 2013

Question 12: It might be said that “A&P” is something of a modern-day “fairy-tale.” Would you agree with this assessment? (Stereotype Characters) Who would the “prince,” the “princess,” the “dragon,” etc. be in “A&P”. Be creative and think of as many analogies as you can. What are the similarities to “A&P” and a typical fairy-tale? How are they different (for example, the final outcome)? Is Sammy chivalric (means having the idealistic qualities of a knight in the medieval times of chivalry)?

Answer: (Prince) Sammy would be the prince that idolizes “Queenie.” He wants her attention and even quits his job when the manager tells them they must leave because they are not in proper grocery store attire (Updike 22). Queenie would be the princess that the prince falls in love with. “She had oaky hair that the sun and salt had bleached, done up in a bun that was unravelling, and a kind of prim face” (Updike 19). The explanation of her hair makes it seems as if she has blonde hair, like Aurora or Cinderella. Lengel is the dragon, like Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, which keeps the prince away from the princess. He wants to girls to leave the store for bearing their shoulders and to come back with them covered (Updike 22). Sammy sacrifices his job to catch Queenie’s attention, but fails to do so. Usually in fairy tales, the prince always gets the princess by slaying the evil being. Queenie seems to parallel Cinderella because she is the beautiful one and Plaid and Big Tall Goony-Goony are like the ugly evil step-sisters. Sammy describes one of Queenie’s friends as “this chubby one, 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, and one of these sunburns right across under the eyes, and a chin that was too” and the other one was chunky with a tan and no eyebrows (Updike 18).

Posted by: Maryerie Rojas, Emma De Rodo at October 14, 2013 02:17 PM

Ryan Voss, Alex Koufas
Dr. Hobbs
14 October 2013
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA08

Question #8: Look closely at the dialogue between Stokesie and Sammy after the sixth paragraph of the story.
To what, exactly, are the two gentlemen “reacting”? If this scenario were to take place today, what might the public’s reaction be? Is this sort of attitude normal? Expected? Perverted? Misogynist? Explore the various possibilities and be prepared to share with the class.
Answer: The two gentlemen were reacting to the girl that walked into the Grocery store, “A & P wearing a bikini by laughing and making jokes and commenting on their outfits. The guys didn’t mind the way they were dressed, but they were surprised that they would walk into the store like that.

Posted by: Ryan Voss at October 14, 2013 02:32 PM

Madison Owens & Rebecca Liller
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 122 Academic Writing II CA08
15 October 2013

Question #5: "Discuss the element of “hypocrisy” in the story. For example, Sammy wonders why it seems okay for the townspeople to see people in their swimsuits at the beach but not at the market. What other examples of hypocrisy can you identify in the story? Is there anything about Sammy that comes across as hypocritical?"

Answer: Sammy seems to come off hypocritical in this short story just like any other nineteen year old boy would. He touches on the subject of older women in bathing suits saying, "[. . .] these are usually women with six children and varicose veins mapping their legs [. . .]" (Updike 20). This thought comes off as hypocritical because he is saying that the "clothing must be worn" rule should apply to older, bigger women anyway, and that the three girls walking through the store look fine in their revealing bikinis. Saying that one female is expected to wear clothing and another is not, is quite the definition of hypocritical. Just because Sammy is enjoying the view of these young girls barely dressed doesn't necessarily give him the hypocritical right to judge that one case is okay and the other is not.

Posted by: Madison Owens at October 15, 2013 04:36 PM

Julieann Sauter and Tori Thomas
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 122 Academic Writing II CA 08
14 October 2013

Question: Discuss the way the language sounds in this story. For example, is it formal or informal? Write down as many of the slang words that you can identify. What slang words do you think Sammy
would use if the A&P grocery store were located in Saint Leo, Florida and the story was written in
2012?

Answer:
The writing in this story is extremely informal. Some examples of casual slang words Sammy uses is calling the one kid chunky. The more formal way of saying this is to call the child “over weight.” Also, he doesn’t call the apparel by the proper name when he calls it a “two piece” instead of a bathing suit. The author writes, “I started to say something that came out ‘fiddle-dee-doo.’ It’s a saying of my grandmother’s and I know she would have been proud” (Updike 23). Since this story was written in the 60’s, something a grandmother said then would most likely be outdated by now. In this case “fiddle-dee-doo” is outdated. Not many things would be different if this story took place in Saint Leo, Florida during this time period. Slang words are usually generational, therefore when they are passed down,they stick.

Posted by: Julieann Sauter at October 16, 2013 01:14 AM

Tyiasha Bailey and Kiara Burgosdiaz
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing CA08
15 October 2013

Question: Discuss the relationships of “POWER” in the short story “A&P.” For example, the relationship of power at the supermarket itself is that there is a hierarchy of management from those at the very “top” to those at the very “bottom.” Look at all the characters in the story and decide where their “power” lies within the scheme of the story. What/who does each character (or set of characters) have power over (their responsibilities) and who/what has power over them (their superiors)? What power(s) do the customers have in the A&P?

Answer: In the story, the manager has power over Sammy. Queenie also has power over Sammy because he is first attracted to her sexually due to seeing her bra dangling straps, and he then starts to develop an interest in her so deeply that he quits his job in hopes of starting a new life with her. This shows a form of power Queenie has over Sammy. The Customers in the story have power over Sammy simply because he is a worker at a store, so if anything were to happen, the customers are always right. So, the power starts with the manager at the top, then the customers, then Sammy.

Posted by: Tyiasha Bailey and Kiara at October 16, 2013 09:05 AM

"The FIFA govt committee affiliates would've thought about the specialised deliver and then spoken, 'OK, if you find more previously owned Hermes things of a likelyhood for spain compared to there is as an example the uk, which can be well worth taking that risk,' Reedie referred to.

Posted by: Hugo Carano at February 25, 2014 02:01 PM

Maxx Howarth
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG122 Academic Writing II CA12
4 March 2014

QUESTION #5:
Discuss the element of "hypocrisy" in the story. For example, Sammy wonders why it seems okay for the townspeople to see people in their swimsuits at the beach but not at the market. What other examples of hypocrisy can you identify in the story? Is there anything about Sammy that comes across as hypocritical?

ANSWER:
Within the story "A&P," the element of hypocrisy is expressed numerous times through Sammy's thoughts. For example, he had no problem criticizing and judging the three girls (Updike 2-3), yet, he caught a co-worker "sizing up their joints," he went on to say, "Poor kids, I began to feel sorry for them, they couldn't help it" (Updike 4). In addition to this, whilst announcing to his boss, Lengel, that he is quitting, Sammy thinks to himself, "once you begin a gesture, it's fatal not to go through with it," yet, once he has followed through with the motion, then states, " I felt how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter" (Updike 7), thus completing contradicting what he had just previously said.

Posted by: Maxx Howarth at March 4, 2014 03:22 PM

Bianca T. Smith
EN122 Academic Writing II CA12
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
4 March 2014

Question #2- (Setting) What era would you place the setting of this story? Does the text indicate any reference to dates? Discuss Sammy's description of the year 1990.

Answer-I would place this era in the 1960s to 1990s."I stood there with my hand on a box of HiHo crackers trying to remember if I rang it up or not"(Updike 2). This shows that these crackers were advertised around 1960 or 1961.


Posted by: Bianca T. Smith at March 4, 2014 03:26 PM

Gabriela Caminero
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA12
4 March 2014

Question:
How does Updike describe the other “shoppers” in the market? There are at least six examples; see if you can find them. What do all of the words that describe the customers have in common? Are they a positive or negative characterization?

Answer:
The way that Updike describes the other shoppers in the market as chunky, provocative, pale, tall, responsible and stunning. They are mostly negative characteristics because they are traits that are negative for a girl to have. This shows an example to how he describes most of the girls, “There was this chunky one with a two piece, and the seems to her bathing suit were green. Her belly was pretty pale so I’m guessing they just got it” (Updike 4).

Posted by: Gabriela Caminero (corrected) at March 4, 2014 08:39 PM

Sarah A Ellis
Dr. B Lee Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA12
5 March 2014

Question 9:
Why, exactly, does Sammy quit his job at the A&P? What, if any, are his reasons? Do you think that Sammy made the “right” decision to quit? Do you think his “heroic” gesture changed anything?

Answer:
Sammy quit his job because he thought the girls would be watching him while he was trying to stand up for them. His reasoning was to impress the girls by standing for them when his boss embarrassed them (Updike 23). His heroic gestured did not change anything because he did not get the girl at the end and he is now out of a job (Updike 23).

Posted by: Sarah Ellis at March 5, 2014 12:43 AM

Sawyer Hand
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA12
5 March 2014

Question: Discuss the way the language sounds in this story. For example, is it formal or informal? Write down as any of the slang words that you can identify. What slang words do you think Sammy would use if A&P grocery store were located in Saint Leo, Florida and the story was written in 2014?

Answer: In "A&P" the language is informal. The narrator in the story is a 19 year old that works at a grocery store and talks like most 19 year olds would. He uses slang words in multiple sentences. One example is when he says, "she was a chunky kid, with a good tan and a sweet broad soft-looking can with those two crescents of white just under it" (Updike 18). The words 'can' and 'crescents' are slang words in this sentence. Another example of this is in the sentence, "by the time I got her feathers smoothed and her goodies into a bag" (Updike 18). This is a slang way of saying he calmed the lady down. One more is example is in the sentence, "I uncrease the bill, tenderly as you may imagine, it just having come from between the two smoothest scoops of vanilla I had ever known were there" (Updike 21). The narrator uses scoops of vanilla to describe the girl's breast. If this story had taken place in 2014 in Saint Leo, Florida some slang words that may have been used that I've heard hear are the following: "chill", "fresh", "dope", etc.

Posted by: sawyer hand at March 5, 2014 01:07 AM


Sergio Velazquez
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
Eng122 - ACADEMIC WRITING II CA12
3/5/2014

Question 2. (Setting) What era would you place the setting of this story? Does the text indicate any reference to dates? Discuss Sammy’s description of the year 1990.

The Era that I would put this story is late sixties. I put the story in this time because women are starting to where two pieces and exposing their shoulders.The text does not indicate any reference dates, but when Sammie expresses that his boss will be manager in the distant future, like “1990,” it show they must be in a time before that.Sammie says that when his supervisor is manger, the shop will be some Russian Tea shop, this express the possibility of a Russian take over, the reader is to assume this setting is in the cold war.

Posted by: Sergio Velazquez at March 5, 2014 08:53 AM

Traneisha Cunningham
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 122 Academic Writing II CA12
4 March 2014

QUESTION #10:
Look closely at Mr. Lengel's reaction to Sammy's resignation. Lengel says that Sammy will "always feel this." Sammy agreed with Mr. Lengel. What does that mean? Do you think Sammy will really never forget this? Why or why not? What do you think Sammy will remember (or have learned) from this incident some years down the road?

ANSWER:
When Lengel tells Sammy he will "always feel this" it means that Sammy will always feel stuck and have no type of control in his life and his surroundings. Yes I think Sammy will really never forget this because this was the first time he spoke up and made a difference in his life that he wanted. Even though he didn't want to do this to his mom and dad, Sammy had to do it for himself. I think Sammy will remember the first time he made a decision in his life that had a huge effect on his life that was going to make it hard for him. "His face was dark gray and his back stiff;as if he'd just had an injection of iron, and my stomach kind of fell as I felt how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter (Updike 23). Sammy knew that quitting was going to make it hard for him in the world but he was tired of the same old thing in his life that he was ready to make the change no matter how hard it was going to be.

Posted by: Traneisha Cunningham at March 5, 2014 10:18 AM

Shelby Marrero
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG Academic Writing II CA12
5 March 2014

Question 1:
Why is the title of this short story “A & P”? Would another title have worked just as well or is this one somehow appropriate to the story (Setting) What role does the grocery store itself play in the story?

Answer:
I believe that another title could not work for this story because this story is talking about how the women are dressed in the store. Even though it is a beach town it is a little inappropriate to dress a certain way in a town.

Posted by: Shelby Marrero at March 5, 2014 11:20 AM

-----------------

*NOTE* The deadline for this particular assignment has now passed. Any comments listed below are *ONLY* for the reposting of comments that I specifically asked to be revised or are ones from non-student posters. Any 'student' posts below that missed the assignment deadline will not get credit for the assignment.

~Dr. Hobbs

Posted by: Dr. Hobbs at March 6, 2014 08:56 PM

Emily Finck
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
6 October 2014


Question #7:
How does Updike describe the other “Shoppers” in the market? There are at least six examples; see if you can find them. What do all of the words that describe the customers have in common? Are they positive or negative characterizations?


Answer:
Aside from the descriptions of the three girls that walk into the market in John Updike’s “A &P,” all of the other customers are characterized negatively. The cashier, Sammy, rings out a woman and refers to her as a “witch about fifty with rouge on her cheekbones and no eyebrows” (Updike 18). Such characterization does not portray this customer in the best of light.


One other example of the negative characterization is when Updike is when referring to a few ladies that noticed the young girls, as “houseslaves in pin curlers” (20). This characterization paints a picture of someone who is a rundown homebody, who does not care about their appearance.


Updike, again, uses negative imagery to describe the customers of the market. For instance, he characterizes the women who shop at the store as having “six children with varicose veins mapping their legs” (20). This characterization creates a vivid image of women who are middle aged and haggard.


Another negative characterization of the market browsers described by Updike is when Sammy takes note of the three girls trying to decide between him and the other cashier. Sammy ends up checking out the trio because his coworker was busy checking out, “an old party in gray baggy pants who stumbles to the counter” (21). This description depicts to the readers a rickety elderly man, who struggles with everyday tasks.


Updike also negatively describes the customers of the store by calling them “sheep” (22, 23). This description means that the customers are mindless and follow the heard so to speak.


All of the descriptions throughout Updike’s short story share a commonality in describing the shoppers negatively and as being elderly.

Posted by: Emily Finck at October 5, 2014 02:55 PM

Allison Ward
Dr. B Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
5 October 5, 2014

Question #5
Discuss the element of “hypocrisy” in the story. For example, Sammy wonders why it seems okay for the townspeople to see people in their swimsuits at the beach but not at the market. What other examples of hypocrisy can you identify in the story? Is there anything about Sammy that comes across as hypocritical?

Answer
In the story, Sammy seems hypocritical about his job. The job he has is “important” to him because of his family, but all he cares about is “waiting for the girls to show up.”(Updike 5). The girls could care less about Sammy, and do not notice him at all.

Posted by: Allison Ward at October 5, 2014 03:55 PM

Zailet Martinez
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL- Love and Desire in Literature
5 October 2014

Question #6:
In a nutshell, how would you describe Mr. Lengel? Look into the text for all the clues about him. What are his responsibilities? What is his role in the community? Would you peg him as a liberal, a moderate, or a conservative? How do his social politics compare to Sammy’s, for example? What about the other workers in the store: how are their values like or unlike Mr. Lengel’s?

Answer:
Mr. Lengel abuses his authority, and it’s rude to the girls. He uses his authority as the manager of the store to talk down to the girls. Instead of being more respectful to them, he chooses to embarrass them by saying “’girls, this isn’t the beach’” twice in front of other customers (Updike, 21-22). He should act like the man he must be on Sundays, given that he is the Sunday Bible School teacher, and he must have respect from the church. He must be respectful to his students as well, or possibly he chooses to abuse of his authority on Sundays as well. I would say Mr. Lengel is a conservative, and he believes everyone must follow the rules put in place. Sammy, on the other hand, is more of a liberal, believing that anyone can do as they please, and it is not afraid to speak up when he witnesses an unjust act. The other workers at the store compare to Lengel are more moderate people, they choose not to pay attention to the things at hand. They choose to ignore the fact that the girls are wearing bathing suits and continue on with their work.

Posted by: Zailet Martinez at October 5, 2014 11:13 PM

Irma Sera
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG. 210CL Love & Desire in Literature CA02
4 September 2014

Question #10:
Look closely at Mr. Lengel’s reaction to Sammy resignation. Lengel says that Sammy will “always feel this.” Sammy agreed with Mr. Lengel. What does that mean? Do you think that Sammy will really never forget this? Why or why not? What do you think Sammy will remember [or have learned] from this incident some years down the road?

Answer:
When Sammy agrees with Mr. Lengel about him “always feeling this,” it means that Sammy will regret himself quitting his job only to try to get the attention of the young women who later on do not even notice his gesture. “I look around for my girls, but they’re gone, of course.” Sammy will never forget it because in quitting his job is not only disappointing his manager but he is disappointing his parents who are longtime friends with his managers. Years from now, Sammy will have both remembered and learned from this incident. He will have learned that his desire for the attention for a female will not lead him far. However, Sammy will also learn, in his attempt to live a more “free” life, to have a plan before actually acting on his feelings.

Posted by: irma sera at October 6, 2014 12:04 AM

Gabriela Navarro
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature
6 Oct 2014

QUESTION #9:
Why, exactly does Sammy quit his job at the A&P? What, if any, are his reasons? Do you think that Sammy made the "right" decision to quit? Do you think his "heroic" gesture changed anything?

ANSWER:
Sammy quits for the most ridiculous reason. Three young ladies entering A&P violating the dress policy were being lectured on the correct clothing, but argued against it. Sammy told Lengel "you didn't have to embarrass them" and he responded "it was they who were embarrassing us" (Updike, 26-27), which was a reasonable argument. Sammy was trying to be "heroic" by quitting when the ladies were being "embarrassed," at the same time trying to get their attention when doing so. Sammy remembered "how he made that pretty girl blush makes me so scrunchy inside" (Updike, 31), so for a moment he did get some reward. However, his reward did not last long once he left and noticed none of the girls outside. Moreover, Sammy did not want to end up like his boss, so by quitting he opened a new path in life, although he realized afterwards how difficult it will be.

Posted by: Gabriela Navarro at October 6, 2014 09:57 AM

Thomas Watson
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
6 October 2014

QUESTION #8:
Look closely at the dialogue between Stokesie and Sammy after the sixth paragraph of the story. To what, exactly, are the two gentlemen “reacting”? If this scenario were to take place today, what might the public’s reaction be? Is this sort of attitude normal? Expected? Perverted? Misogynist?

ANSWER:

They’re reacting towards the clothing the three women are wearing in the store. Throughout the story, the narrator speaks avidly about the appearance of these women. To summarize what the two spoke about, within the text Sammy states, “What he meant was, our town is five miles from the beach, with a big summer colony out on the Point, but we’re right in the middle of town, and the women generally put on a shirt and shorts or something before they get out of the car into the street”(Updike 4). If a conversation like this were to take place today, I feel that the public would react the same, minding their own business. I would expect for it to be normal/expected since people do this kind of thing all the time, talking about people behind their backs or making a joke about someone without them knowing.

Posted by: Thomas Watson at October 6, 2014 02:04 PM

Matt Weller
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 201CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
8 October 2014

Question #10:
Look closely at Mr. Lengel’s reaction to Sammy’s resignation. Lengel says that Sammy will “always feel this.” Sammy agreed with Mr. Lengel. What does that mean? Do you think that Sammy will really never forget this? Why or why not? What do you think Sammy will remember [or have learned] from this incident some years down the road?

Answer:
When Mr. Legal says to Sammy “you’ll feel this for the rest of your life” (Updike 23), Sammy knows that he has made a mistake. Sammy decides to go through with his resignation anyways. When Mr. Legal says this to him, it means that Sammy just left something that was good for a bad reason. Sammy knew that those girls were mostly likely going to be gone when he left the A & P, but he decides to try to be the hero instead. Mr. Legal knows too that Sammy is leaving the store for the wrong reasons. Sammy is never going to forget about this encounter because he just lost his job for a stupid reason. He even says, “now here comes the sad part of the story, at least my family says it’s sad, but I don’t think it’s so sad myself” (Updike 21). This story about the girls has been brought up in a family discussion before. Sammy’s mom and dad will not ever let him do something like this again. Sammy has learned that he should not try to be a hero and try to impress girls that may not even be interested in you if the counter outcome is something greater like losing a job.

Posted by: Matthew Weller at October 8, 2014 11:54 PM

Sharonda S Byrd
B. LEE HOBBS
ENG 210CL
8 October 2014
A&P

Question: 1. Why is the title of this short story “A&P”? Would another title have worked just as well or is this one somehow appropriate to the story? (Setting) What role does the grocery store itself play in the story?
2. (Setting) What era would you place the setting of this story? Dies the text indicate any reference to dates? Discuss Sammy’s description of the year 1990.

Answer: 1. The title of the story is A&P because that is where the story is set. A&P is a large grocery store chain and that’s where the girls and the narrator, Sammy, works. Another title would have worked too but the one that it has does fit the title well. The grocery store plays itself in the story because the three girls are walking around the store with just their swimsuits when there is no beach in site.
2. The era that the story takes place is 1992. The text does not indicate any reference of the date. It does not use old language so it does not reference to olden times, it uses modern now language.

Posted by: sharonda byrd at October 11, 2014 06:34 PM

Ashjan Alrashid
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 210CL Love and Desire in Literature CA02
10 October 2014

Question # 11:
Discuss the relationships of “POWER” in the short story “A&P.” For example, the relationship of power at the supermarket itself is that there is a hierarchy of management from those at the very “top” to those at the very “bottom.” Look at all the characters in the story and decide where their “power” lies within the scheme of the story. What/who does each character (or set of characters) have power over (their responsibilities) and who/what has power over them (their superiors)? What power(s) do the customers have in the A&P?

Answer:
From the very beginning of the story, we see that the three girls got the attention of the narrator. Walking around wearing only their bathing suits they had the power over the men in the store. At first, Sammy, after seeing them "stood there with my hand on a box of HiHo crackers trying to remember if I rang it up or not."(Updike 18) He lost concentration on what he was doing. The same thing happened to other checkout clerk. when he said "I feel so faint." (20) we knew the girl's power got him too. Let no forget the man they were asking for help McMahon "old McMahon patting his mouth and looking after them sizing up their joints."(20) So we see how they got power over all of them until the manager Lengel arrives. As soon as he arrives he sees them and in a try to undermining their power by telling them "We want you decently dressed when you come in here."(22) With that statement, he was proving that he is their superior. On the othe hand, ther customers did not have much power. "the customers had been showing up with their carts but, you know, sheep, seeing a scene, they had all bunched up on Stokesie"(22) they were only watching the battle of power that was happening in front of their eyes.

Posted by: Ashjan Alrashid at October 12, 2014 10:10 PM

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