ohn Updike’s “A & P” is quite an entertaining story. Updike uses language and metaphors that make the main character and narrator, Sammy, very identifiable. From his initial descriptions of the girls in the store as “chunky” and “having a very good tan”, it is clear that Sammy is a young man, although we do not immediately know his name. Updike also uses many animal comparisons.
He continuously describes people as “sheep” and refers to clients as “scared pigs in a chute.” Sammy’s voice comes through vividly. It is as if I was engaging in one on one dialogue with him. The writing is informal and Sammy even announces when the turn of events is coming by saying “Now here comes the sad part of the story.” He builds up suspense by not revealing the embarrassing part of the story until the end of the next paragraph. Personally, I think that the informal language, crude humor, and childish descriptions help give the story personality.
“A & P” brilliantly mixes superficiality, fantasy, irrational behavior, and adolescents into a comical first person narrative.