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Three females enter an A & P grocery shop wearing their bathing suits in the short story "A&P." Sammy, a young male, intently observes these women and evaluates their appearance. He is taken aback by the drive and personality of these women to enter the store while dressed. Sammy is overshadowed by the girls' decision to pay for their item at his counter.
Lengel, the store manager, however, shows up and walks over to the counter that Sammy was working. He reprimands the girls for breaking store policy by coming into the store in their bathing suits. The girls feel embarrassed and turn to leave. This leads to Sammy protesting to quit his job just as the ladies are approaching the door and he finally exists and follows the girls. However, to his surprise, after following them to the parking, he finds that they have all gone and is left alone feeling ambiguous since he had lost both his job and the girls.
The story is educative in many aspects of life. For instance, greed is shown in the short story and how Sammy failed to obtain the girls and lost his job (McCarthy, Kathryn and Susan Goldman 59). Also evident is the issue of policies and ethical practices. It is not normal that any person would enter any store while dressed in their bathing suits. This shows the violent society and depicts the practice that many ladies have engaged in currently. However, the story also talks about respect to other people and businesses (Walker, Brian 189). The ladies should have respected the store and understand that within the business area, no person should be dressed in their bathing suits.
Furthermore, since the dressing code was not among the store’s policies, the store guards at the entrance would have seen the girls in the first place and prevented them from marching in. This tells us patriotic the store employees are for most of them tend not to respect the policies. That is because the girls might not have been aware of the rules and probably they were used to walking into malls in bathing suits. More so, maybe they thought as long as they buy goods, promoting the business, the rest was no big deal. The society has changed and women are mostly handled as objects. Probably Sammy was not the only man affected by the appearance of the girls because the A & P store is an ever packed place with different types of people. There must be several men who missed giving the whole amount at the counters just because all their stares were at the girls' tempting bodies (Chappell, Julie and Mallory Young 90). Some might have probably left their balances just not to let go of the luring scene because to them, viewing naked women fulfilled their sexual desire and are what they love doing and the view was just there for them, live at a grocery store.
In the contrary, we are told that the girls were embarrassed after being confronted by the store manager named Lengel. They were embarrassed because they knew whatever they had done was wrong. It is known that bath suits in America are mostly worn by women at the beach and its environs. If one would meet a woman at the beach in a bathing suit, they could not even give a second look at them because that was the norm and almost all women regardless of age dressed the same. This was not the same story with the girls in the store because Sammy would not have left his job just because he had seen them. They must have sent some naughty gestures at him which sent him into confusion. One, two or both must have called him out by whichever means and Sammy was driven by lust and ended up losing his job and could not trace them outside the store. Furthermore, if what the girls did was intentional, then they must be cunning. This is because they knew their insane act would cost someone’s job and money.
The society is changing every day because of the uncouth characters which are constantly tolerated in different premises. If the manager would not have approached the girls, they would precede a list of many others who would grab the opportunity to dress that way when shopping at the stores. Eventually, the store would be full of naked women walking in and out of the store and that would be so unbearable for normal men who are sexually active. That business would also be at risk of a downfall because the two cannot just mix. The society, therefore, is supposed to enact strict regulations narrowing them down to different premises so as to uphold morality and respect to all people. Morality bears development in any aspect of life and that is what any society needs (Chappell, Julie and Mallory Young 90.
McCarthy, Kathryn S., and Susan R. Goldman. "Comprehension of short stories: Effects of task instructions on literary interpretation." Discourse Processes 52.7 (2015): 585-608
Manzini, Margherita. Spanglish: Two languages and a unique perspective. An analysis of three short stories by US Latinos. BS thesis. Università Ca'Foscari Venezia, 2016.
Walker, Brian. "Book Review: Michael Toolan, Narrative Progression in the Short Story: A Corpus Stylistic Approach." (2014): 188-191.
Chappell, Julie A., and Mallory Young, eds. Bad Girls and Transgressive Women in Popular Television, Fiction, and Film. Springer, 2017
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