conference 2. Community College. Essay Response, Essays for English Philology. Boston University (MA)
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conference 2. Community College. Essay Response, Essays for English Philology. Boston University (MA)

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conference 2. Essay response. This is Based on short story.
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In the short story “A&P,” John Updike writes about a character named Sammy,

who transforms from a young adolescent who prioritizes impressing teenage girls, into a

man, who questions authority. In the beginning he is a follower, similar to a “sheep,”

stuck in an ordinary and bland routine. Sammy acknowledges the pretty girls, thinking

and judging them only on their physical features, but as the story progresses, his morals

change and he declares that girls should be allowed to dress how they want, with no

worries of criticism. Queenie, who represents a higher-class, inspires Sammy to think

twice about middle class values. Sammy makes the bold decision to quit his job so he

can go after what he wants in life. He no longer wants to listen to modern middle-class

expectations. He doesn’t want to be a “sheep” that is loyal to society or easily herded in

accordance to its rules and unfair burdens of pressures. Sammy wants to set his own

policies and break ordinary routines. Sammy not only stands up for Queenie and her

friend’s rights, but he starts a new journey for himself, rebelling against conformity.

Sammy evolves as a new man throughout the short story who is able to recognize the

corrupt state of America, an accomplishment that present day individuals still struggle

with.

The short story takes place in 1961, when civil rights movements were gaining

momentum and people were searching for their voice of freedom. Lengel, the manager of

the store, who is a prisoner of middle-class expectations, reprimands the girls for their

attire. Lengel says, “Come in here with your shoulders covered. It’s our policy.” His

conservative and traditional understanding of the world, contrasts Sammy’s unrestricted

and independent new outlook on life. Lengel embarrassing the girls, angers Sammy. This

anger reassures his doubt; the society that people expect him to conform to, is not one

that he wants part of. Sammy believes that if Lengel, and others with similar views, don’t

change their perspectives of life, they will remain clueless Americans with no

understanding of all they can accomplish.

Stokesie, the cashier at A&P, is 22, married, and has three children. Stokesie

portrays a prime example of how Sammy does not want to end up. Stokesie, similar to

Lengel, has a difficult time believing that life and opportunities expand beyond the world

they are accustomed to. They are unaware that society is constantly changing. Stokesie

intends to make a career out of working at A&P, showing he is not dreaming big. In the

beginning of the short story, Stokesie childishly jokes with Sammy about the three girls

wearing swimsuits and says, “ I feel so faint.” Stokesie wants to believe that he is an

adult with a future and a plan, but in this part of the story he acts juvenile. The

established adult life he believes he has achieved will be difficult for a naïve person to

survive in. When Sammy preaches to Lengel that he is fed up with the unfair nature of

his job and the judgmental society he belongs too, Stokesie stays quite and hidden with

fear, instead of adding his own voice and feelings to the matter, he lacks in taking risks.

Stokesie lives life on the sidelines. Sammy looks at Stokesie as someone with no

impactful meaning. Similar to a sheep, Stokesie listens to what he is told with no detours.

Individuals today have a hard time admitting all of the problems America suffers.

Most problems cannot be fixed right away, but with some adjustments and time anything

can be achieved. Sammy realized the faults he was abiding too and wanted to embody

change in his own self and the lives of others such as the three girls in swimsuits. Change

is constant and necessary in everyone’s life. Change is a team effort, but it only needs one

person, like Sammy, to start and show other individuals the potential of what truly can be.

Kelly, Jospeh. "The Seagull Reader." Stories. Jospeh Kelly. New York. 2015. Pages

461-467. Medium Designation.

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