From “A&P” by John Updike
Answer the following questions in complete sentences.
1. Updike puts together details that create a normal, ordinary grocery store — the setting is supposed to be realistic. What details stand out to you as true to life? What does paying close attention to the details contribute to the story?
2. Think about the character of Sammy. What traits (good or bad) does Sammy show? In what ways is he a “real” person? Is he less of a hero because he wants the girls to notice him?
3. What part of the story is the exposition? Where in the story can you find the conflict? What is the climax of the story?
4. Why, exactly, does Sammy quit his job?
5. Does anything lead you to think Sammy will quit his job? Is there any foreshadowing (before Sammy quits) that hints at this?
6. What do you understand from the conclusion of the story? What does Sammy mean when he says “how hard the world was going to be . . . hereafter”?
7. Who is the narrator of this story? How might this story be different if another character narrated it? How reliable do you find this narrator? Justify your answer.
8. Why do you think the girls wear their bikinis in the store? What text evidence supports this conclusion?
9. How does the setting contribute to this story? How might this story be different if it happened in a different time and place?
10. The narrator assigns character traits to the girls based on their appearance and body language. Compare the narrator’s description of Queenie and the tall girl. Do you think this is an accurate way to assess other people? Explain your response. How are appearances related to how people perceive each other?