John Updike's short story "A&P": The character of Sammy.How fully does Updike draw the character of Sammy? What traits (admirable or otherwise) does Sammy show? Is he any less a hero...
John Updike's short story "A&P": The character of Sammy.
How fully does Updike draw the character of Sammy? What traits (admirable or otherwise) does Sammy show? Is he any less a hero for wanting the girls to notice his heroism? To what extent is he more thoroughly and fully portrayed than the doctor in "Godfather Death"?
The main character in John Updike's short story, "A&P," Sammy is an immature social misfit with very little (if any) experience with the opposite sex. Although that is not completely unusual for an awkward teenager, Sammy describes the girls who enter the grocery store as if he were looking at them in a second-rate girlie magazine. They are far from perfect--he points out all of their physical faults and refers to them as "sheep"--but they remain untouchable. A common store clerk and cashier who is only hired to serve the customer, he sees "The Queen" as royalty.
Sammy apparently has few admirable character traits. He has little respect or understanding of authority; his boss is just another worker with a door "marked MANAGER behind which he hides all day." Sammy is not yet ready for all the demands of the adult world, and when he sees the chance to become a hero in the girls' eyes by quitting in protest of their treatment at the hands of his boss, he makes his move. His action is hardly heroic, however, since he hates his job and only hopes it will give him a shot with the girls. But Sammy takes his time getting to the parking lot and finds the Queen and her court long gone.
Sammy is no James Dean. He dislikes authority and is not ready to hold down a full-time job, but his actions are far from noble. They reek of immaturity and, though he knows his life will be tougher without the security and income of the A&P, he feels more comfortable in his schoolboy world of beaches and bathing suits.