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What comment does Uplike through Sammy make about "supermarket " society in...

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hajihassa | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted October 20, 2007 at 12:41 AM via web

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What comment does Uplike through Sammy make about "supermarket " society in this story?

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted October 20, 2007 at 12:44 AM (Answer #1)

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Well, one is the disparity between the vacationing, monied class to which Queenie and her entourage belong and to the resident, working class to which Sammy is a member.  Sammy longs to not suffer the same stagnant fate of his co-workers and to be accepted by the outsiders.  The supermarkert, therefore, might be seen as a metaphor for those who must stock societies "shelves" and those who enjoy its spoils. 

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sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted October 20, 2007 at 1:01 AM (Answer #2)

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I would add that Sammy also longs for that beautiful white body of the "Queen" who walks into the store.  She represents a class to which he doesn't and won't ever belong (even after he quits his job).  She buys the Fancy Herring Snacks while his family drinks "Schlitz in tall glasses with "They'll do it every time" cartoons stencilled on." But she also can break the rules with a certain audacity, and just as Sammy admires her confrontation with the "sheep" in the store, so does Updike, I think. He doesn't criticize them so much as, with Sammy, mourn and criticize the fact that such a gap exists, one which Sammy will not cross ove. Perhaps they are a representation of The American Dream (often embodied in American literature through wealthy, beautiful women) that the ordinary guy just cannot obtain.

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