Stereotypically, decision-making is an
essential practice for the young people around the globe. Many times young
people make decisions using the wrong criteria. John Updike, the author of
A&P short story brings out clearly the nature of the intolerant behavior of
young people through an educative literary piece. Updike’s story captures the
mind and has numerous teachings concerning decision-making especially to the
young people. Decisions shape the life of people who make and implement them
overtime. Wrong decisions are bound to misdirect someone whereas the right
potential decisions channel someone’s life into the right ways. Updike’s
short story “A&P” concentrates on the choices that the young people make
including the criteria that they use in making their decisions through four
major characters, Sammy, and the three young women.
Updike views choices as products of
circumstances following how Sammy’s decisions leads him to failure as he
focuses on the girls so much than other important things in life.
Elaborately, Sammy’s decision to resign was influenced by the situation that
came into place at his workplace. When the three girls walked in in their bath
suits, Sammy seemed to have no choice other than to resign under unclear
circumstances irrespective of the manager’s warning that his parents will
regret. Updike views Sammy as someone who does not calculate his moves
effectively. That is, he does not make decisions wisely by predicting the
possible repercussions that may arise. For instance, he imagines “You know the
kind of girl other girls think is very “striking” and “attractive” (Par. 2).
The concentration is much on the ladies and how they look rather than there
character or what they are able to do in life. In my life experience, I once
made an ineffective decision to gamble driven by the urge to get more money
only to lose everything. Updike reveals how young people are not focusses in
making their decisions.
The author views young people as careless
in their decision-making and choices in life, which turnout to dictate how they
live their lives in the society and relate to other people.
According to Updike, people are easily lured into making decisions depending on
the present occurrences. More often, few people give weight to advices from
their relations such as friends or workmates amongst others. The mere entrance
and physique of the three ladies got Sammy thinking and making irrelevant
decisions at the time. Sammy imagines the characters of one of then ladies in a
critical manner, “She kept her eyes moving across the racks, and stopped, and
turned so slow it made my stomach rub the inside of my apron…” (Par. 5). To the
readers, Sammy reveals his inobservance to professionalism. Readers get to
wonder how Updike is insinuating about the young people and how they make
choices in life. Personally, somethings have ever driven me to make choices
that are more wrong than right. At one time, I had a character of looking at
people and judging them from their appearance only to realize that this is a
wrong way of scrutinizing people’s personality. Notably, physical appearance is
quite different from people’s personality as Updike illustrates in his writing.
From Updike’s perspective, young adults
lack stamina in making significant choices that guide their lives and direct
them in the right way instead of otherwise as in the case of Sammy’s life that
was misled by his own decisions and lack of self-control.
Making the right decisions and being able to follow them requires determination
and focus that many young people, according to the Updike’s “A&P” short
story, lacks especially in the modern world. Sammy, one of the cashiers, makes
irrational decision to quit his job in order to impress the girls and respond
to the manager’s act of warning the girls against his will. Lengel told the
girls, “We want you decently dressed when you come in here” (Par. 15).
Considerately, Lengel is reasonable in his directions but the three young
adults and Sammy do not agree with him, which proves how young people fail to
take appropriate advices from either the authority of their seniors. Sammy was
not so sure on what to do but ended up doing the wrong things as he did not
succeed in finding the girls and also left his job on unreasonable basis.
Moreover, the three girls are not certain on how they should dress depending on
their destination. Life has much to learn especially for those who are willing
and flexible. As a young person, I realize that I have to make some informed
decisions and stick to them alongside weighing other people’s advices. In my
life, I often take time before making decisions. Before implementing any choice
in life, I realize that I have to consider its circumstances. In the Updike’s
short story, I prefer the Lengel’s advice to Sammy as he meant good for him. When
in dilemma, I would always take time to make the rightful decisions that would
rather build me than break me down. Updike is putting it clear to the readers
on the influence of wrong choices in life.
Through Lengel, the manager, Updike attempts
to explore the role of parents and guardians regarding the young adults’
choices and the difference between the choices that reliable adults make and
those that young adults make. Lengel’s mindset is quite different from that of
Sammy since they think in different ways and from different perspectives. While
Sammy thinks that Lengel did not treat the girls fairly, Lengel is not worried
of his responses to the girls. Lengel seems to be right than Sammy.
Contemporary young persons are fond of neglecting the right directions due to
the overrating of themselves that they know more than others. Sammy says, “You
did not have to embarrass them” and the manager says, “It was they who were
embarrassing us.” The diversion in thoughts is clear. More often, I have
differed with people in thoughts and finally agreed when I realize that I got
it wrong. Life has plethora of people who have different thoughts. Assumedly,
young people have more time to live hence they have the obligation to make
potential choices in life.
In conclusion, Updike’s short story
“A&P” concentrates on the choices that the young people make including the
criteria that they use in making their decisions through four major characters,
Sammy, and the three young women. Life has much for the young people that
making wrong decisions may cost them heavily. Updike gives worthwhile lessons
to young people through “A&P” short story. As the story begins, the author
seems to be concentrating on the physique of the girls until late in the story
that he reveals the main motive of the story through specific characters as
examined in this paper.