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by John Updike

A&P Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. An earlier version of this story was three or four pages longer and ended with Sammy at the beach looking for the girls but not finding them. Do you like the story the way it is now, or do you think it would have been better with Updike's original ending? Why?
  2. Why does Sammy "feel sorry for" the girls (10)?
  3. Do you think Queenie is a good role model? What about Sammy? Lengel?
  4. This story argues for what we like to call "freedom of the dress." Do you agree with this argument? Do people need to be told what to wear? If so, who gets to decide? If public nudity were legal, would everybody walk around naked all the time? Would you?
  5. Do you think Sammy and Queenie would make a good couple? Do you think they might meet again?
  6. How, if at all, does Sammy grow in the story?
  7. Do you really think Sammy's quitting is as big of a deal as he and Lengel make it out to be? What predictions can you make for Sammy's future?

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