Is Sammy a person of principle or simply an immature young man? John Updike’s “A&P” is a story of a young boy Sammy, a cashier at A&P supermarket who allows his romantic desires and his anger overcome him and in the end winds up quitting his job. John Updike shows how Sammy goes from an immature young boy with lots of imaginary ideas and fantasies, to a young man who about to realize how life altering the choices he makes can be.
Updike teaches us that actions and decision that we make in life have consequences and that either we like it or not we are responsible for our own actions. Sammy is simply an immature young man, not a person of principle. Sammy’s immaturity can be seen through his reactions, interaction and attitudes toward its customers, the three girls visiting the store, the “A&P” establishment, and the staff. The immaturity led him to quit his job as a cashier without thinking it through or realize the consequence. Sammy’s attitudes toward the customer show him as an immature young man.
Sammy’s comments and how he described customers as being old, dull, and unable to relate to young people. He addressed the first customer he comes across as “one of these cash-register-watchers, a witch of about fifty with rouge on how cheekbone and no eyebrow, and I know it made her day to trip me up”. He also described them as a “sheep pushing their carts down the aisle”. Through Sammy’s attitude toward the customers, we can say that his tired of regular customer, regular customers including these older married women, with kids, the overweight lady, and the old ladies who spend years trying to catch an error by cashier.
We can simply see his immaturity and he does not particularly care for the customers. Sammy attitude toward the three girls visiting the store reveal his 19 years old immaturity. Sammy started by describing first girl and then another in detail. He later concentrates on the most beautiful one who he called the leader – Queenie. He critiques them in his head as he watches them shop about the store. Like an immature young 19 years old boy, he analyzes them and described them one by one, but focused on Queenie. She was the queen, she did not look around, not this queen, she just walked straight on slowly, on these long white primadona legs ….. ” But in the end, Sammy really reveal his immaturity when he relate the girls mind to “just a little buzz like bee in a glass jar”. Sammy attitudes toward the “A&P” establishment as being rigid and policy organization, the policy that a bathing suit is not allow in the store especially if the shoulder is not covered. Sammy’s sees this A&P policy as against the human constitution freedom.
He believes that anybody should wear whatever they feel like wearing to anyplace. He forgets to realize that most establishments have their dress code. For example, some restaurant does not allow people to wear jeans pant to dinner. Sammy’s attitude toward the staff especially Mr. Lengel was not good at all. Mr. Lengel is a friend to Sammy’s parent and he sees Sammy as a young boy who needed to be nurture. When Mr. Lengel, the store manager told the girls that the policy of A&P is to have one’s shoulder covered while shopping in the store.
Sammy replies “policy is what the Kingpins want. What the others want is juvenile delinquency. ” The others in this contest I believe it refer to himself. For Sammy to be a person of principle, he must realize that you must have a policy. They always say that a person of principle is a policy person. Sammy’s attitude toward Mr. Lengel and the comment he made revealed his immaturity in this stage of his life. Sammy decision to quit his cashier job at A&P supermarket because of girls shows his immaturity.
Sammy believes that he stand up for the rights of the girls that is the reason why he quit. If Sammy is a person of principle with common sense, he will think before he makes that decision. Sammy doesn’t think before he says “I quit” to Mr. Lengel. He let his emotion overcome him. Sammy just wants to show off to the girls, he says “I quit, to Mr. Lengel quickly enough for them to hear, hoping they’ll stop and watch me, their unsuspected hero”. Sammy does not arrive at this decision because it is against his principle. Sammy even agreed with Mr. Lengel that e doesn’t want to quit, but he says when you start the gesture you need to finish it. He imagines “how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter”. Sammy immature attitudes towards its customers, the staff, the girls and the “A&P” and his decision to quit revealed his immaturity in this story. Sammy wants to impress those beautiful young girls that end up leaving him unemployed. Also, Sammy immature action has gained him nothing and cost him everything. He allowed his romantic desires for the girls to overcome him before making the decision to quit.