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The maturity of sammy in the short story ap by john updike

  • These workers, at least in 1961, generally earned less than so-called "white collar" workers, such as clerks, accountants, and other office workers on the low end and bankers and lawyers at the high end;
  • When he is confronted by a trio of young women shopping the store wearing nothing but their bathing suits, Sammy is keenly interested, as any male teenager would be;
  • If a pretty girl from Sammy's neighborhood came into the store and was treated badly by the manager, would Sammy have quit?
  • What do you think?
  • If a pretty girl from Sammy's neighborhood came into the store and was treated badly by the manager, would Sammy have quit?

The story he tells takes place on a Thursday afternoon in the summer. When we meet Sammy on this lazy summer afternoon, the big theme of his life becomes pretty obvious.

Character Analysis

He thinks everybody acts, dresses, looks, and probably even thinks the same. He's desperate to break out of the stuffy, boring mold he's falling into, but he just doesn't know how.

  • If a pretty girl from Sammy's neighborhood came into the store and was treated badly by the manager, would Sammy have quit?
  • The idea of being a rebel appeals to Sammy.

When he encounters the girl he nicknames Queenie, he sees a chance to transform his wishes into realities. By quitting his job and telling off his boss, Lengel, for how rude he was to the girls, Sammy experiences a coming of age.

It's his first real taste of the power and possible pain of standing up for what he believes in. Sammy is a character who the author identified with strongly.

Initiation and Maturity in John Updike A&P

Updike, who was 29 when he wrote the story in 1961, says that he used Sammy as a mouthpiece for his own "lustful and quizzical feelings" source. This sexiness helps make Sammy a fun and interesting character.

  1. Sammy does two things which allow him to grow during the course of the story — he states his opinion and he acts in a rebellious manner.
  2. Updike, who was 29 when he wrote the story in 1961, says that he used Sammy as a mouthpiece for his own "lustful and quizzical feelings" source.
  3. The idea of being a rebel appeals to Sammy. At nineteen, Sammy is old enough to know what society expects from him but he is also young enough to feel a sense of dissatisfaction with the dictates of his elders.
  4. He realizes he is entitled to his own opinion, and that rebelling against authority figures brings personal satisfaction, but it will also be difficult for him to be complacent in other jobs in the years ahead.

The name comes from the blue collars on the uniforms worn by many factory and industrial workers. These workers, at least in 1961, generally earned less than so-called "white collar" workers, such as clerks, accountants, and other office workers on the low end and bankers and lawyers at the high end.

Updike makes these class distinctions explicit in an interview, and there are hints of them in the story. Sammy's class is revealed through his job, his fears about the future, and his family's use of beer glasses to mark big family events. His impression of Queenie's economic class is based on his finely honed people-watching skills.

He makes an educated guess about her class by taking into account her dress, her bearing, what she buys, the way she talks, and the way she responds to Lengel's attack on her clothing.

Updike claims that this difference in social classes is the main reason Sammy quits his job. He says Sammy's "gesture of quitting has to do with the fact that she was rich and she was poor, as he sees it" source.

  • When we meet Sammy on this lazy summer afternoon, the big theme of his life becomes pretty obvious;
  • He realizes that, in a small town grocery store in the 1960s, such attire is not socially acceptable, yet his hormones dictate that he follow their every move with his eyes and contemplate the adverse reaction of others in the store;
  • In this way, he can make a rather dramatic exit and prove he is in control of his own life.

Sammy seems to be looking for a girl who will show him things he's never seen and take him places he's never been. Updike suggests that not just any girl would have inspired Sammy to such action. What do you think? If a pretty girl from Sammy's neighborhood came into the store and was treated badly by the manager, would Sammy have quit?