A&P: Pleasure and Freedom (Review)


The word quit can be attached to so many things in life. Sometimes impulses can work against us, for instance in today’s present days is extremely hard to have a job and to maintain that job. In The short story, A&P by John Updike, describes the adventure and rebellion of a young man who struggles with freedom and pleasure. Throughout the plot of the story, Sammy is portrayed to be a hero in front of the girls. Sammy had worked in the A&P store for a while because he needed the money to support his family. Sammy’s action of rebellion against his manager symbolizes the interest Sammy’ s owns for the unknown, in this case the girls. Although he gained authority and freedom, Sammy economic boundaries still latent for an overwhelming future.

The foreshadow behind Sammy’s decision of quitting his job at the A&P is that he uses the girls as an excuse to liberate himself from the over abusive manager he has. Now that Sammy has quit he is basically on debt and just the reflection of the girls leaving in the car, stick around his mind. The internal conflict Sammy will face from the moment he quitted to his reality now that he is an unemployed with no satisfaction to fulfill his desires. Even though his decision is  perceived as an impulsive and illogical decision, it could also symbolize leaving behind your comfort zone and standing up for what one believes. Going against social norms and regulation is not easy, but now that Sammy is “free” his life looks more stock than when he was working at the A&P store.

Time and conformity are the main reasons for society’s perception towards an individual. Sammy will have to find another job in order to be productive not only for society but to his family as well. Money symbolizes power and hard times will approaches to Sammy’s life every single time. In case he doesn’t find a new job, he would have to go back to the A&P and be miserable again. Sammy’s financial problem will increase from rent, food, transportation, and other basic needs he will need in order to survive. When Sammy decided to quit, it seems like he didn’t care about all of this things but actually he did when he said “I felt how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter.” Throughout his thoughts we are aware of the biggest fear of Sammy which is his family economical status. As a working-Class young man, he will have many problems when it comes to money because of how he is view by others, especially by his ex-boss.

Socioeconomic classes involves the attachment from a person to another because of the person’s financial status. The word “No I’m not interested,” will be a nightmare for Sammy to adapt. The time frame in this story social classes are very important, when Qeenie, the name he gives to the leader of the bathing-suit trio, she is a rich girl who do not limit herself and always takes what she wants. In the other hand because of his origins, Sammy tends to be more conservative and shy when it comes to interact with a different social class that he was not used to. Sammy can be facing frustration and a sense of loneliness because at the end he must stand along with no “Qeenie” his side. The story ends by having Sammy outside of the store, which can reflect his reality versus fantasy, the author uses this scenario to interpret that choices sometimes are not beneficial and life can be very unpredictable.

Sammy is now outside the A&P, looking inside. He probably realizes that he is alone and is hard to look back on something you used to be part of. He is also out of the girls lives and outside of society because he quit his job. A society that might support acts such as wearing a bathing suit in public, but not a man with impulses and anxiety of trying the unknown. Maybe Sammy’s boss is right and he will regret this action but maybe that “hard” life Sammy thinks about with lurching stomach might be a step closer to let him know that the challenge was worth it.