- Published: October 31, 2021
- Updated: October 31, 2021
- University / College: Brown University
- Language: English
- Downloads: 10
A&P is a classic first person narrative by an unreliable narrator in Sammy who gets to take us around A&P store and introduce us to its customers and the management. It is a comic first person narrative and we get to experience Sammy’s genius in creating a comical atmosphere out of a place that suffocates him as it is revealed in the end when he suddenly decides to quit his job because his manager had reprimanded the girls he was interested in.
The genius of Sammy is seen from the first passage of the story when the girlswalk in and he has to save an old woman. From his comical description of the old lady whom he says would have been burnt in Salem had she been born in another lifetime shows that he is a perceptive young narrator although his perceptiveness hits a brick wall when it comes to Queenie whom he gets to be interested in. The setting is barely a place where comic encounters are expected to come but we get to understand the ridiculous stuff that happens at A&P through Sammy’s observations. He fuses both colloquial and erudite observations even of his co-worker and his imagination about where Queenie lives, what her parents are like and what she could be like.
One quote that stands out is Sammy’s depiction of Stokesie’s desire to be manager. He observes, “I forgot he thinks he is going to be manager some sunny day, maybe 1990 when it’s called the Great Alexandrov or Petrooshki Tea Company or something” (9). In this observation Sammy is not mocking just Stokesie but the whole corporate culture and the illusion that one can easily make it to the top. The quote “By the time I got her feathers smoothed and her goodies into a bag — she gives me alittle snort in passing, if she’d been born at the right time they would have burned her over in Salem..” (1) show Sammy’s distaste of customers and his job. It is apparent from this moment that he is not enjoying his work.
John Updike. A&P.