A&P at first seemed to me like a story about a young boy attracted to a girl who came into a A&P store where he worked. She was scolded by his boss, causing Sammy, the narrator of the story, to became upset and quit his job. Sacrifices were made then later on regretted. Reading this story again for a second time, I was able to understand it more.
The story at first seemed to rush in with three girls arriving at the store. As you read on there is a lot of details. This story expressed that sometimes we have to grow up and make the right decisions regardless of the situations we may encounter.In the story “A&P” by John Updike, A&P is a real place where the story develops, but also a symbolic place where the narrator creates a fantasy. A&P is a supermarket Sammy is working for nothing except for money. In fact, he hates the A&P supermarket: “I bet you could set off dynamite in an A&P…” because it is so boring and there is no meaning until the three girls in bathing suits appear. The A&P suddenly turns into a magical place since he sees the third girl: “She was the queen”.
Now Sammy sees himself as a knight to protect the queen. Whoever interrupts what Sammy is doing, such as a customer, he or she must be an adversary or a witch in his imagination: “If she’d been born at the right time they would have burned her over in Salem”. Eventually, he meets the queen at his checkout slot. The queen puts down a jar and the name is also suitable for his fantasy: “Kingfish Fancy Herring Snacks”.
When Sammy holds the jar, he feels more like a knight and the jar symbolizes his loyalty to the queen and he is proud of taking the jar: “I thought that was so cute”. However, Sammy faces the real world as soon as the manager of A&P appears. The manager jolts people including the queen in the A&P that the A&P is not a beach, but it is a real supermarket.
A&P is no longer a magical place and it has a policy which both the staff and customers have to follow to keep order of the real world over the magical world. The conflict between the queen and the manager results in the victory of the real world. However, Sammy is still eager for his fantasy and wants to connect with the queen. Thus, Sammy quits and exits of the real world. He describes the people in the A&P as “like scared pigs” to justify his fantasy. He pursues the queen as soon as he comes out of the A&P, but he can’t find her. In fact, he faces the real world without any fantasy: “I felt how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter”. Now, without a job and a bad reputation for quitting his job, he should have thought twice before making a big decision that would affect his life and he know that he won’t do the same thing again.
There is one sentence from Lengel that is really interesting to me: “Girl, this isn’t the beach.”. Instead of saying exactly what he means, he shows his disagreement to the girl’s clothes by saying the place in where their clothes would be appropriate. He believes that everything should belong to their right place.I chose the A story instead of the Cathedral because I like this one better and also the Cathedral seemed to be an odd one for me. Also for the title, no one in the story is religious, so that the title doesn’t fit the story.