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College Essay, Research Paper


A&P , by John Updike, is a short essay about a young man that encounters a moral dilemma while working in a local grocery store. The essay starts when three young ladies came into the A&P, a grocery store chain, wearing only bathing suites. A younger Updike was the narrator of the story he worked in the A&P as a cashier at the time of this incident. After the girls were spotted by the manager of the store he confronted the girls and asked them to cover themselves the next time they came in. In doing so he made a seen that many of the shoppers noticed. In an effort to impress the girls as they were leaving from an embarrassing seen Updike decided to tell his manager, Lingel, that he quit. Updike was not only trying to impress the girls but at the same time he was making a stand for what he thought was right.

I was drawn to this essay because everyone has a similar story they can tell. I remember a time that I had to take a stand for my morals. I was in front of the place that could very well change the direction in which my life was headed. I had a big green duffle-bag stuffed with my entire collegiate wardrobe barely hanging onto my left arm and my other fist was full of hangers. I started to walk toward the open doorway of the simple box-shaped structure made of cold bricks and concrete but I turned back realizing I forgot to wave goodbye to my parents. It was too late they were already gone. Suddenly a sense of freedom clouded by the discomfort of honesty surrounded me. I knew I could get away with pretty much anything but the penalty for being caught could mean an abolishment of the trust my parents have for me. It would also tarnish my own reputation amongst their peers. If I was to take advantage of this newly found freedom I could have been praised by my own peers for being party animal or a sex god. My popularity would have increased throughout my circle of friends and probably expand the circle itself. I thought about it for a short while but I proceeded into the place local students know as Dowden Hall .

Once inside I saw a tall, long limed, light brown-haired, young lady and asked her where a couple of need to know places were, like the laundry room. I was fully aware of where they were located but I was hoping to strike up conversation. After that approach crashed and burned I politely thanked her and lugged my ferocious green bag of bricks into the elevator. On the way up to my room on the fifth floor I thought about what kind of person could be stuck with me for almost half a year. A couple of things popped into my mind like, would we get along? Or, is he a messy person? In addition to the usual roommate questions others were also lingering in my head. If my roommate is a dork would everyone associate me with him? If my roommate is popular and is already networked into a socially good standing will he accept me and maybe take me under his wing? What would I have to lose or gain in either of those situations? At that point I was using both hands to drag my bag around and I almost made a mess of hangers but managed to hold on until the door opened to let me onto the fifth floor.

As I stepped out of the elevator I was overwhelmed by the different music downloaded using Napster coming out of just about every door on the way to my room. It seemed like my room was the only one with it s door closed. Finally I dropped my bag at the door to my room and knocked on the door. I heard music coming from behind it but no answer. I knocked again and then tried looking into the peephole in the door. I was startled to see another eye looking out at me and then the door opened. He introduced himself quite quickly and proceeded back to his computer like he had paper due within the next minute. I asked him what he was doing and he replied Nothing just downloading songs off of Napster. . Still gazing into webspace he softly yelled so I could hear him over his music. He said I m having a party in here tonight. Then he asked Do want to drink now? . It seemed as if he had heard everything I had thought about and challenged me directly. I paused for a second or two still wondering if he was a mind reader but then he asked me, Do you drink? I answered, Yes, occasionally. . I do not know why I said I drank, even though I have drank in the past I am not really a drinker. I think a said it so he would not totally discredit me. He asked me if I wanted to start drinking again and I told him that I would probably start when the others came over. Time passed slowly and it was finally the moment of truth. Was I going to defy the trust my parents have given me on the first day of my freedom or was I going to be my own person and not flock into the crowed that fails every class or barely passes. The choice was a tough one but I chose to take the road less traveled. I told him to get them out by eleven so I could go to sleep. Now my roommate tries to steer clear of me and party elsewhere. He has not really opened up to me ever since then. The decision may have caused me to be in the situation I am now in with my roommate but at least I still have my honesty.

After having read A&P by John Updike I have learned that have to stand up for themselves if they ever want to be taken seriously. Everyone wonders what would happen if they had made a different decision sometimes. Looking back at my actions I still wonder what the outcome would have been if I chose a different way. I am very proud of myself for standing up for what I wanted instead of letting my roommate take advantage of my kindness. I am also glad that I chose to keep myself honest. In doing this paper I have found that no matter how much a decision may not seem to matter right away they usually do meaningful to yourself later on.

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