by John Updike
A&P Society and Class Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Paragraph)
"My mother asked me to pick up a jar of herring snacks." Her voice kind of startled me, the way voices do when you see the people first, coming out so flat and dumb yet kind of tony, too, the way it ticked over "pick up" and "snacks." All of a sudden I slid right down her voice into her living room. Her father and the other men were standing around in ice-cream coats and bow ties and the women were in sandals picking up herring snacks on toothpicks off a big plate and they were all holding drinks the color of water with olives and sprigs of mint in them. (14)
Sammy constructs an elaborate fantasy of Queenie's life here. He sees her as rich, sophisticated, and used to the finer things in life. Her social status seems to be part of what makes her attractive to Sammy.
When my parents have somebody over they get lemonade and if it's a real racy affair Schlitz in tall glasses with "They'll Do It Every Time" cartoons stenciled on. (15)
In contrast to Queenie, Sammy is from a working-class family that drinks beer, not fancy cocktails. The difference between his and Queenie's socioeconomic class makes for an interesting contrast. Without speaking, they work together to protest Lengel's conservatism, rudeness, and bullying. The story suggests that different classes can work together to promote greater freedoms for all.