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Rebellion and Social Norms Among Youth Essay

Young people have a tendency not to comply with any laws when it’s come to their wellbeing. Young people always try to express their opinions and restrain from obeying their leaders which sometimes lead to a disaster result of their poor decisions in life. According to Gary Schwartz book, explain what happens in Sammy’s mind and what causes the reaction of quitting his job at the end (Schwartz 55). Therefore, the issue of young people is rebellion against their social norms is the central theme of the “A&P” john Updike story. At the beginning of the story, Sammy is fully within his place in society as a whole (Saldana 95).

Meaning that he is just an average teenager with an average job in a small town where everyone knows each other. At that time, Sammy was a cashier at a supermarket named A&P in a small town north of Boston in 1961. There begins Sammy’s rebellion when the trio of girls enter the supermarket with bathing suits on and barefoot. After the girls enter the Supermarket and walk in every department to look for the item they need. Lengel the manager of the supermarket approaches the girls and lectures them on what they are wearing on them inside of the supermarket.

After the girls walk away, Sammy gets mad and decides to quit his job at this point. Sammy unleashes an impression identity style behavior against Lengel (Schwartz 35). Which mean Sammy feels for the first time in his life that he has to let go his timidity and confront Lengel without thinking of his action to get Queenie attention. The way Lengel undresses the girls with his eyes make Sammy sick to his stomach. That is what triggers Sammy’s anger to react as if he does not care of what happens to him. As long he receives Queenie’s attention, it’s enough for him.

Today, young people wear any kind of clothes that attract people’s attention. Sometimes the way they dress can be very provocative. Even though Sammy is gloomy at the beginning of the story, he begins to feel his happiness at the end but not the way he has plan it would be for his action. Sammy has gone from being judgmental to a hero Fritz 2 and then he starts regretting his decisions (Saldana 96). He experiences a transformation; he knows that life will be harder for him hereafter. That is why an old priest of Haiti said “one must never act in conformity with society and should be willing to take risks”.

Meaning a wrong move at any time can make the society reject you. Social class structures have a significant role in this story and can be viewed as one of the norms that Sammy is rebelling against (Schwartz 45). Perhaps in Lengel mind, he thinks that they come from a low class family that does not teach them how to act in public. When Lengel makes it his business to reprimand Queenie and the other girls, she maintains her stubborn comportment and explains that she is here to pick up an item that her mother requests her to buy.

In response to this, Lengel takes a step further by first repeating himself and then explains to the girls, “We want you decently dressed when you come in here” (Updike). According to Sammy, Lengel is a heart cold person, whose interpretation of the ideal person in this society: God fearing, church people who know their place and not go against their will. It is at this point in the story that Queenie loses her bearing for the first time. Sammy’s response to this predicts that his decision to defy Lengel and the supermarket rules will be signified by his exposing his own shoulders, and that is precisely what occurs.

Rebellion and social norms appear to have an impact among young people this day. Most of the time, they stand up for what they feel is right and neglect the consequences. Sammy was able to bring attention to him, but it did not work the way that he had planned it would be. The girls most likely didn’t even know that Sammy even quit his job. He tried very hard to get Queenie to see him and accept him, but that didn’t work either. That is why people can never sympathize with Sammy’s action because it results to an act of rebellion against his social norms.


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