Character Review John Updike Sammy in A&P

In my opinion from the story, A&P by John Updike Sammy is a hero from his actions. Sammy is an 18-year-old young man who worked in a grocery in a small town in Boston. While in his job on a particular day tree young girls about the same age as him walks into the store wearing bathing suits. In many other settings, this would have passed unnoticed, but it creates quite a commotion in A & P store (Lohafer, 68). Sammy had appraised the way the three girls were dressed and had no problem with the situation. He checks out the three girls one by one, acknowledging how beautiful they were. His boss Lengel is not impressed, by the way, the girls were dressed, and he decides to ask the three girls to leave. Just as the girls begin to leave, he suddenly turns to his boss and quits his job. This was in protest for the way Lengel had embarrassed the girls.

Sammy decided to stand up for what he thought was right despite the circumstances. He proves to be a true modern protagonist with his heroic acts. His boss Lengel who was also the store manager chastises three girls for entering the store in bathing suits, where he argued that was against the store policy. Queenie, one of the girls, protests that she only wanted to purchase some herring snacks that her mother had sent her. Sammy is offended by the treatment that the girls receive form, Lengel. One would argue that Sammy reacted to the situation the way he did because he was attracted to the girls, but there is validity to his actions. In many instances Sammy is seen to make judgments about many customers who visited the store, but not at any one time did he dare to insult any of them. He does not treat any customer in an unacceptable way despite what type of customer it was. Sammy understands that a customer is always right and thus it was wrong for his boss to treat the three girls the way he did.  Sammy treats customers with dignity and expects his boss to do the same. When he quits the job he shows that he could not stand what his boss had done, thus a heroic act.

One would argue that Sammy decided to quit his job to impress the three girls and get their attention. However, it is very important to notice that the girls ignore him and he knows it. He still goes ahead to quit his job and walks out even after knowing that the girls did not even notice (Van, 93-103). Sammy displays himself as well raised the young man who would not consider challenging the authority. He does not try to talk his way out of the situation and does not allow his boss to convince him to stay. He prevents any form of argument with his boss since he respects the authority. His willingness and desire to show his boss that he was wrong in asking the girls to leave the store is heroic since he does it from his heart.

Sammy is a hero since he displays his desire to change the society in the way people view things. In the modern world, not many business settings would treat people like Lengel treated the three young girls. He did not care how the girls could feel after such a situation. It is very likely that the girls would never visit the store again in the future. Therefore, Sammy’s actions were heroic since they ultimately show the disapproval of Lengel’s actions.


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