Length[ edit ] Determining what exactly separates a short story from longer fictional formats is problematic. Short stories have no set length. In terms of word count there is no official demarcation between an anecdotea short story, and a novel.
The one that caught my eye first was the one in the plaid green two-piece. She was a chunky kid, with a good tan and a sweet broad soft-looking can with those two crescents of white just under it, where the sun never seems to hit, at the top of the backs of her legs.
I stood there with my hand on a box of HiHo crackers trying to remember if I rang it up or not. I ring it up again and the customer starts giving me hell.
She was the queen.
She kind of led them, the other two peeking around and making their shoulders round. They were off her shoulders looped loose around the cool tops of her arms, and I guess as a result the suit had slipped a little on her, so all around the top of the cloth there was this shining rim.
With the straps pushed off, there was nothing between the top of the suit and the top of her head except just her, this clean bare plane of the top of her chest down from the shoulder bones like a dented sheet of metal tilted in the light.
I mean, it was more than pretty. She had sort of oaky hair that the sun and salt had bleached, done up in a bun that was unravelling, and a kind of prim face. The longer her neck was, the more of her there was.
She kept her eyes moving across the racks, and stopped, and turned so slow it made my stomach rub the inside of my apron, and buzzed to the other two, who kind of huddled against her for relief, and they all three of them went up the cat-and-dog-food-breakfast-cereal-macaroni-ri ce-raisins-seasonings-spreads-spaghetti-soft drinks- rackers-and- cookies aisle.
From the third slot I look straight up this aisle to the meat counter, and I watched them all the way. The fat one with the tan sort of fumbled with the cookies, but on second thought she put the packages back. The sheep pushing their carts down the aisle -- the girls were walking against the usual traffic not that we have one-way signs or anything -- were pretty hilarious.
But there was no doubt, this jiggled them. A few house-slaves in pin curlers even looked around after pushing their carts past to make sure what they had seen was correct. And anyway these are usually women with six children and varicose veins mapping their legs and nobody, including them, could care less.
The girls had reached the meat counter and were asking McMahon something.
He pointed, they pointed, and they shuffled out of sight behind a pyramid of Diet Delight peaches. All that was left for us to see was old McMahon patting his mouth and looking after them sizing up their joints.
Now here comes the sad part of the story, at: After a while they come around out of the far aisle, around the light bulbs, records at discount of the Caribbean Six or Tony Martin Sings or some such gunk you wonder they waste the wax on, sixpacks of candy bars, and plastic toys done up in cellophane that faIl apart when a kid looks at them anyway.
Around they come, Queenie still leading the way, and holding a little gray jar in her hand. Queenie puts down the jar and I take it into my fingers icy cold.
Still with that prim look she lifts a folded dollar bill out of the hollow at the center of her nubbled pink top. The jar went heavy in my hand. Really, I thought that was so cute. Lengel comes in from haggling with a truck full of cabbages on the lot and is about to scuttle into that door marked MANAGER behind which he hides all day when the girls touch his eye.
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.
We just came in for the one thing. Fancy Herring Snacks flashed in her very blue eyes. After this come in here with your shoulders covered.
Policy is what the kingpins want. What the others want is juvenile delinquency. All this while, the customers had been showing up with their carts but, you know, sheep, seeing a scene, they had all bunched up on Stokesie, who shook open a paper bag as gently as peeling a peach, not wanting to miss a word.
I could feel in the silence everybody getting nervous, most of all Lengel, who asks me, "Sammy, have you rung up this purchase? I uncrease the bill, tenderly as you may imagine, it just having come from between the two smoothest scoops of vanilla I had ever known were there, and pass a half and a penny into her narrow pink palm, and nestle the herrings in a bag and twist its neck and hand it over, all the time thinking.
They keep right on going, into the electric eye; the door flies open and they flicker across the lot to their car, Queenie and Plaid and Big Tall Goony-Goony not that as raw material she was so badleaving me with Lengel and a kink in his eyebrow.Read a summary of Langston Hughes' short story, 'Thank You, Ma'am', a snapshot of African-American life in the s.
Explore some of its main literary themes, and then test your own understanding. John Updike's short story "A & P" recounts how an adolescent supermarket cashier named Sammy has his life changed forever when three girls in bathing suits shop in the store where he works.
He is the first person narrator who shapes the tale with his descriptions, attitudes and opinions. It's the plot of John Updike's famous short story, "A&P." One of the shortest and funniest stories you'll probably ever read, it's often found in anthologies and taught in schools.
Updike was a famous novelist, poet, and literary critic who won gazillions of awards, including two Pulitzer Prizes. Oct 02, · With devastating wit and an abiding understanding of and affection for his characters, Jeffrey Eugenides revives the motivating energies of the Novel, while creating a story so contemporary and fresh that it reads like the intimate journal of our own lives.
In the short story "A&P," John Updike illustrates how imagery can be used to describe the characters' personalities through the descriptions of their appearances. Thank You! Imagery. Get an answer for 'How does John Updike use symbolism in the short story "A & P"?' and find homework help for other A & P questions at eNotes.