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Teenagers’ desire for uncontrollable sexual fantasies is the most powerful occurrence in their life, surpassing all other societal or parental expectations of an orderly lifestyle. Sammy’s behavior embodies the teenager’s fascination of the female anatomy vividly. Sammy says “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 back of her legs” (Updike). This statement shows how teenagers tend to have an exaggerated imagination of the female body, its features, and allure. This allure catches Sammy’s breath and for a moment he does not seem to comprehend what is going on while holding a box of crackers and contemplating to call of not. This shows how Sammy’s concentration is reduced from the central activity he was doing at the time. It is as if there is a high sense of power that rushes through his mind, blows his imagination, and takes him to an imaginary world of desire.
The male inquisitiveness of the female mind makes them ponder ways of understanding their motive of their unique way in which they do things. This is a direct result of the strong desire that the male mind possesses to the extent that they are driven to use this admiration to insubordinate the female mind. At one moment, Sammy ponders “You never know for sure how girls’ minds work” (Updike). Here the desire is making Sammy try to understand what is going through her mind at the moment taking into account they are clad in swim suits and in a supermarket. Sammy seems to undermine the female psychology by comparing the female thinking to the buzzing of bee in a glass jar. It is as if he is trying to dissociate the physical allure he has by bringing in the mental aspect.
Lengel comes out as a strong embodiment of the parental force by mirroring the society’s expectations of teenage behavior. He confronts the girls by reminding them that they were not in a beach. Even after the response from Queenie he still holds his ground “That’s all right...but this isn’t the beach” (Updike). The power of desire has taken over Sammy’s mind such that he compares A&P to a sand dune and Lengel being the lifeguard. It is obvious that Sammy’s desire develops in him a protective attitude such that he shuns away society’s value for personal image. The action of the girls turning up in swim suits provides sexual gratification to Sammy and he will do anything to achieve his goal. Here irony is portrayed in that Sammy accuses Lengel of acting as a lifeguard, while he does not seem to realize that in this imaginary sand dune, he is the other guard fighting for the ladies’ rights. This is very symbolic of the teenage growing mind in real life, where it is their feelings that matter, and not the feeling of others surrounding them.
Finally, the revelation of the strong sexual desire in the teenage mind brings into perspective the social problems associated with juvenile delinquency. At the end of the story, this is achieved because Sammy quits his job despite the warning given to him. The strong sexual desire he has acts as a motivator to forego parental and societal expectations. Even though he recognizes that the girls have gone, he still matches away and now pictures himself on the other side of the glass wall, where reality strikes him hard.