A&P - Uncompleted

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate October 2001

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I. Introduction People have been noted for feats of courage or nobility, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life, is a hero. In the short-story A&P by John Updike, Sammy is blinded from his responsibility by his spontaneous desire to become Queenie's "unsuspected hero" (1119).

II. Theme The theme in A&P, illustrated through Sammy's actions and defined by his consequence, is that people should think their thoughts through before acting upon them. A&P can be considered the coming-of-age story as the actions and development of Sammy, the adolescent cashier, change. As the story begins, Sammy has the typical mindset of a teenager, drooling over the girls that walk in the grocery store. Upon the closure, he hastily quits his job. Once Sammy has a chance to gather his thoughts, he noted how his "stomach kind of fell as [he] felt how hard the world was going to be"¦hereafter" (1120).

Sammy realizes that his life will be filled with more responsibilities now. When he "look[s] back in the big windows" (1120) of the store, his actions show he wishes he could go back and redo his mistake. Sammy's actions in the store were a result of his lack of thinking his choice through; he didn't have a clear view of the consequences until the end.

III. Conflict The main conflict in and backbone to the central idea in A&P is Man vs. Himself. Sammy in A&P ponders with the idea of whether to take up for the girls or respect the rules of his environment. He wants to be a hero in the eyes of the girls but feels he must finish what he starts. However, he makes a rash decision from reacting to the situation instead of thinking his thoughts through. After he hastily...

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