Discuss the theme of coming of age as portrayed in John Updike’s shor story "A & P".  

In John Updike's short story "A & P", the teenage cashier, Sammy, bravely stands up to his manager, Lengel, who embarrasses three teenage girls wearing bathing suits in the grocery store. Sammy is instantly attracted to the leader of the three girls, who he names Queenie, and watches them as they walk through the aisles looking for Kingfish Fancy Herring Snacks in Pure Sour Cream. When the girls go to check out their items, Lengel approaches them and begins to rebuke them for dressing inappropriately in his store. Lengel embarrasses the girls for wearing their bathing suits, and Sammy comes to their defense by quitting his job.

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In John Updike 's short story "A&P," the teenage cashier, Sammy, bravely stands up to his manager, Lengel, who embarrasses three teenage girls wearing bathing suits in the grocery store. Sammy is instantly attracted to the leader of the three girls, who he names Queenie, and watches them as they...

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In John Updike's short story "A&P," the teenage cashier, Sammy, bravely stands up to his manager, Lengel, who embarrasses three teenage girls wearing bathing suits in the grocery store. Sammy is instantly attracted to the leader of the three girls, who he names Queenie, and watches them as they walk through the aisles looking for Kingfish Fancy Herring Snacks in Pure Sour Cream. When the girls go to check out their items, Lengel approaches them and begins to rebuke them for dressing inappropriately in his store. Lengel embarrasses the girls for wearing their bathing suits, and Sammy comes to their defense by quitting his job. Sammy hopes that the girls will admire him for his chivalrous actions and appreciate him for coming to their defense. Unfortunately, the girls walk out of the store just as Sammy tells Lengel that he quits. Lengel then gives Sammy an opportunity to take back his decision, but Sammy insists on quitting.

Once Sammy walks out of the A&P, he looks around for the three girls hoping that they will give him recognition for coming to their defense. However, Sammy learns an important life lesson about sacrificing and defending others when he discovers that the girls have left without thanking him. Sammy says, "My stomach kind of fell as I felt how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter" (Updike 5). Sammy's important coming-of-age moment is his realization that his chivalrous actions and romantic ideas will not be recognized or appreciated by others as he grows older.

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John Updike's short story "A & P" is a tale of painfully coming of age and facing manhood for Sammy, a cashier at the A & P grocery market. Sammy is motivated by hormonal admiration of girls who enter the store in summertime swimsuits and nothing else. His cashier stand is situated so he can watch their progress through the store with a minimum of impediment. Sammy analyzes their every movement. When they finally come to his check-out stand, he is mentally and emotionally on friendly terms with them.

When the store manager informs that girls that their attire (or, rather, lack of it) violates store policy and requires that he ask them to leave without being served, Sammy feels a chivalric stirring and defends them. They look bemused and quietly leave. Sammy goes one step further in his protest against the sanctity of--of what exactly no one ever knows--and gives his manager an ultimatum that will risk his ability to save up needed money for his future plans.

The manager accepts Sammy's challenge. Sammy turns in his apron and name tag. The manager fires him, after first trying to reason with him and talk sense into him. Sammy goes victoriously out into the parking lot expecting the girls to greet him as their conquering hero. Sammy finds a deserted parking lot and a rather foolish entry into manhood, knowing that the world will look a lot different from then on out.

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