Although Short, John Updikes “a & P” Is Big On EnjoymentAlthough Short, John Updike’s “A & P” is Big on EnjoymentI enjoy stories that are long and involved. However, the short story”A & P” by John Updike is a wonderful exception to this rule. Updike writesthe story from a viewpoint of what I believe to be a younger, more contemporaryperson.
The story contains many other enjoyable attributes, such as thecomments about young girls’ flesh. I found the story to be a good read andalthough I typically don’t like stories that are short and uninvolved, I wasable to gain a lot of enjoyment from this work.The story begins with little-to-no foreshadowing and doesn’t enlightenthe reader until about half way through the piece. All of the sudden, thereader is cast into an “A & P” grocery store in what I would think to be thelate 1950’s. Although undocumented, the writer gives details that point to thistime period.
I didn’t think I would enjoy the story because it doesn’t providemuch background information on anything. However, as I began to read the storyI was able to create background information of my own which changed my opinionabout the story altogether.I found the work to be enjoyable in other ways as well. I got theimpression that the main character was a younger fellow. His comments andactions sounded more immature than mature, so I was able to relate more closelyto the work. I found that there were many thought processes that are similar toan adolescent boys, rather than to a more experienced adult.
A good example ofthis can be seen toward the end of paragraph 2 when he gives his interpretationof what happens in a girls mind. He makes a simile to a bee buzzing in a glassjar. A mature person would never make a statement that is so thoughtless. Ienjoyed it very much.I’m able to make a few emotional connections to Sammy, the maincharacter, as well.
. In the story, there are many clues that point to him as agirl watcher / admirer. I tend to think that all gentlemen at that age andmaturity level feel similar ways toward the opposite sex. In the passage,”…
you know, the kind of girl the other girls think is very ‘striking’ and’attractive’ but never quite makes it, as they very well know, which is why theylike her so much…” (63), it can be seen that he is an experienced girl watcher.Careful observation is the only way a guy could reasonably know what the othercould be thinking.
I think that overall the story did a very good job of bringing me intothe store. I felt like a first hand participant in the antics. I was able tosympathize with the main character and I was able to connect with him as well.As I said, I typically don’t enjoy shorter stories, although I’m glad that Imade an exception by reading “A & P”.