"A & P" by John Updike_
The story "A&P" was written by a famous American writer John Updike. The events take place in a supermarket "A&P". Here is the connection between the title of the story and the story itself, which begins with the description of three girls. It was very surprising for the customers and shop-workers to see half-naked girls in bathing-suits walking along the supermarket, which was rather far from a beach.
The author presents the events from the point of view of the one of the characters - Sammy, a nineteen year-old boy. We should admit that Sammy always tries to come in contact with the reader, he waits for his response:
"...do you really think... but do you got the idea... If it hadn't been there you wouldn't have known..."
Sammy describes the girls with admiration:
- She just walked straight on slowly, on these long, white prima donna legs.
- So high her neck, coming up out of those white shoulders
- her chest down from the shoulder bones, like a dented sheet of metal tilled in the light
So all this epithets amd similes reveal Sammy's positive attitude towards the girls. But the other customers on the contrary are described negatively.
- "The sheep pushing their carts down the aisle..." - The metaphor sheep stands here for the customers.
- "She's one of these cash-register-watchers, a witch about fifty with rouge on her cheekbones." - The metaphor "witch" is standing for the cashregister watcher.
So we can arrive at a definite conclusion that for Sammy the girls were a gulp of fresh air. He was tired of his boring job which gave him no satisfaction at all. And Sammy enjoyed spying upon the girls, he liked them.
In the first part of the story the greatest emphasis is given to the description of the girls. Sammy describes them in details and admires their beauty. His attitude towards the girls presupposes the existence of another attitude.
In the second part of the story Lengel appears, resenting the girls' behaviour. He considers them to be indecent. There is an external conflict between Lengel and Sammy. Lengel seems to be the representative of the society full of rigid, time honoured rules. As for Sammy, he is a boy with an artistic soul. It's very hard for him to survive in this world. There is also the internal conflict, which takes place in Sammy's mind. He wants to get rid off the bounds with that society. He wants freedom. And those girls served as impulse for him to make the right decision. The climax of the story coincides with the moment when Sammy took his courage into his both hands and quitted.
The message sounds like this: "we shouldn't be afraid of taking initiative in our hands and showing it". In this sense Sammy is a round character. He is a unique individual and developes in the course of the story. As for Lengel he is one sided, constructed round a single trait.
The author symphathizes with Sammy. Updike chose him as the narrator, consequently Sammy represents the author's point of view. Here one can easily discover Updike's attitude towards women, he considers that it's enough for women to be beautiful but not to have brains. He says: "You never know for sure how girls' minds work / do you really think it's a mind in there or just a little buzz like a bee in a glass jar".
Besides, Updike's accuracy while choosing words, using different stylistic devices - all that draws our attention. The language is very metaphoric:
- "a few houseslaves"
- my stomach rub the inside of my apron ...
and it's very difficult to read and understand the author's message. In conclusion I'd like to point out that story wasn't to my liking.
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