Study Guide

Queenie in A&P

By John Updike


Queenie isn't really this girl's name. We don't know her name or much about her at all. We see her only briefly while she's in the A&P, in her bathing suit, shopping for herring snacks and pulling money out of her cleavage. In other words, she makes a big impression.

Everything we do know about her is based on the observations of Sammy, our narrator. According to him, she has a queen-like presence. She is a leader, not a follower. She's not afraid to go against the grain and is proud of who she is. Sammy thinks she's probably from a fairly wealthy family. She is also sensitive; she almost cries when Lengel is rude to her and her friends. We can see why Sammy finds her attractive.

How do you think this story would look if told from Queenie's point of view? How do you think this experience will impact her life, if at all? Do you think she hears Sammy tell Lengel he's quitting? If so, why doesn't she wait around to talk to him?

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