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A & P , Cathedral

Essay by   •  February 18, 2011  •  Essay  •  710 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,561 Views

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In my personal opinion John Updike’s story A & P is the best story we’ve read in class so far. He does a phenomenal job drawling his readers into the scene and setting. What made this story unique in my mind are his narration, characters, and points.

Updike did a wonderful job with using Sammy to narrate this story. I like the fact that the speech is informal and easy to relate to. Sammy’s ramblings whether internally or externally reflect his personality and views of the people around him. I like looking at Sammy’s thoughts because of the way he process and describes things like the lady who is one of those “cash-register-watchers, a witch about fifty with rouge on her cheekbones and no eyebrows” (pg 266) who was just waiting for him to screw up so she could complain. The setting is especially important in this story. For example it would not make sense to have three girls walk into a convenience store in swimsuits in Alaska. The fact that this store is only five miles from the beach is paramount in letting this scene naturally unfold.

Updike’s story A & P is filled with universal characters. There’s always going to be small groups of girls with one leader who stands out because she’s prettier, more daring or more self absorbed. It’s typical to see the “Queen” or leader with two other women who are decently looking but just a few steps down from her. Legnel is that manager whom we all work for sometime who is either micro managing you or the one who “hides all day” behind that title or “that door marked manager”. In Legnel I see the corporate suit the one who follows rules and orders. I also see someone who likes our main character Sammy as he tries to gently probe him out of quitting.

My main reason for liking this story is Updike created basic points that would hold true today. We’ve all done an action at one point in our lives that maybe we regret instantly but still feel the need to follow through just because that action has been started. I like the fact that the “act” that Sammy figured on making him a hero went unnoticed. Realistically speaking there are so many times that we figure on being notice for our actions or achievements, and aren’t. Just like Sammy there comes a point in our life where we all



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