A And P By John Updike

"Sammy is a sexist pig who suddenly sees the light" In John Updike’s short
story, "A & P," the main character, Sammy, is a cashier at a small
grocery store. He is seen by many to be a sexist pig, describing in detail how
he sees the three girls that walk in to the store. Sammy is in fact a sexist pig
by what he says about them. With evidence and quotes from the story, Sammy can
be determined to be a sexist pig. He describes the first girl he sees walking in
the store as "a chunky kid, with a good tan and a sweet broad soft-looking can
with those two crescents of white just under it..." (421). Although the
comment was kept to himself, in mind it is a sexist comment. Though the girl was
in a bathing suit and there was no beach around, she probably wasn’t trying to
get the attention of young guys. She was just there to "pick up a jar of
herring snacks" (423). Describing the girl’s "can" (421), meaning her
backside, gives Sammy some credit of being a sexist pig. Sammy slowly begins to
see the other two girls follow the first. He notices not only what they’re
wearing, but what the little clothing that they have on covers up. "This clean
bare plane of the top of her chest down from the shoulder bones like a dented
sheet of metal tilted in the light" (421). With this quote, he is describing
how the bathing suit was slipping off the girl, but in a more demeaning manner.

"With the straps pushed off, there was nothing between the top of the suit and
top of her head except just her..." (421). Sammy describes that he just sees
the girl, a one-nighter type. He doesn’t see that she’s a human, but just a
plaything. One other quote/thought that Sammy has while these girls (whom remain
nameless throughout the story), is when the one he calls Queeny takes her money
from "the hollow at the center of her nubbled pink top" (423). He begins to
get excited as he uncreases the bill as "it just having come from between the
two smoothest scoops of vanilla [he] had ever known there were" (424). Sammy
seems to be more of a sexist pig, as the reader proceeds through the story. In
conclusion, Sammy is a sexist pig. His thoughts of the girls are distasteful and
degrading towards them. The idea of his precession of calling the girls by what
they look like makes him a pig. But how he describes them, in the manner that he
does, makes him sexist. Towards the end, when he looks for "[his] girls"
(425), he notices they are not there. Maybe he realized that since he didn’t
know them that they weren’t going to hang around for him, or maybe he realized
that no girl would want to hang out with a sexist pig.