With what kind of values is Lengel associated in "A&P," and do you feel any sympathy for him?

In John Updike's "A&P," Lengel is associated with such values as respectability, conservatism, caution, and respect for authority. He is a somewhat sympathetic figure, as he treats Sammy kindly and patiently, trying to prevent him from behaving rashly.

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Lengel is the manager of the A&P in Updike's story and is therefore the main authority figure. He is not a particularly impressive figure of authority, and neither customers nor employees treat him with much respect. Nonetheless, his values are those of old age and authority: conservatism, respect for tradition, caution, and conventional respectability.

Sammy, in his youthful rebelliousness and boredom, is not particularly sympathetic towards Lengel, but even he has to admit that his employer could be a lot worse. He describes Lengel as a dreary Sunday school teacher, but he cannot accuse him of unfairness or tyranny. His rebuke to the girls for their state of undress is rather mild; he merely tells them that the store is not the beach, which is quite true. Sammy's own reaction shows that their behavior in wearing bathing suits to go shopping downtown is unusual, to say the least.

Lengel's treatment of Sammy is also kindly and thoughtful. Although Sammy feels "how hard the world was going to be" at the end of the story, Lengel has not been harsh, having patiently asked him to reconsider his decision to walk out. He emerges from the story as a perfectly reasonable representative of his type, a man who will inevitably seem rather boring and fussy to the young people around him but is without malice or any other conspicuous vice.

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