n the excerpt A & P by John Updike, the author discusses the events revolving around the theme of choice, consequence, and image. In the story three young girls enter a grocery store in only bathing suits. The manager of the store tells them they have a dress code policy and he expects them to dress decent the next time they come. This leads to one of the stores cashiers to quit because of his managers decision to publicly embarrass the girls. The events in the story explain how every choice someone makes, leads to consequences that other effect themselves or others around them.The theme of choice and consequence is present in the quote, “We want you decently dressed next time you come in here… After this come in here with your shoulders covered.
It’s our policy.” This quote is the choice that Lengel made to confront the girls about the way they are dressed. The consequence was that the girls were embarrassed that he had publicly called them out basically saying that they looked indecent. The girls made a choice to wear only bathing suits in a store, the consequence was them being told they need to wear more clothes to follow policy which lead to the girls feeling embarrassed. This scene is one of the first scenes that shows how choices lead to consequences. Another consequence of Lengel’s actions is when Sammy decides that he did not want to work there anymore because of the way Lengel had embarrassed the girls.
Sammy states, “I said I quit… You didn’t have to embarrass them.” Although Lengel does not believe that he embarrassed them but rather the girls embarrassed the store, Sammy still finds it reason enough to leave his job. Lengels actions affected how the girls and Sammy felt and contributed to the following choices made by Sammy to quit. Sammy quitting was the consequence of Lengels actions. Sammy faces the consequences of quitting when Lengel tells him, “Sammy you don’t want to do this to your mom and dad.” Sammy understands how his actions not only affect him but they also affect his family which contributes to the theme of choice and consequences. These events revealing the theme of choice and consequence contributes to the mowaw because every action made by each person in the story lead to a further situation where another person was affected.
Image is another big theme in the story because there are so many physical descriptions talked about that it kind of emphasizes the importance or role that image or appearance plays. A quote from Sammy about the appearance of Queenie says, “…A kind of prim face. Walking into A with your straps down, I suppose it’s the only kind of face you can have.” This quote reveals the theme of image because Sammy describes how only one with her appearance would be able to walk into the store dressed so exposed. This theme of image could tie into the mowaw because the girls choice to dress this way which leads people to stare and possibly make judgements.
The events in the story create themes of choice, consequence and image. These themes help to reveal the mowaw that every choice made has an affect on not only yourself but others as well.