“The story of Sammy creates an ideal circumstance of mixed feelings of desire and hate. Sammy works in a store where he interacts with colleagues who have different personalities. Amidst his daily interactions with customers, the store’s manager, and his fellow workers, he encounters three beautiful girls who make him notice his sympathetic and rebellious sides. Considering the manager’s behavior towards the three girls, Sammy’s hate towards him is reawakened making realize how much a prisoner he has been during his employment t the store. He refers to himself and his colleagues as slaves; a term that makes a reader understands his resentment and consequent decision to quit his job. This paper gives an analysis of the main characters in the story, bringing out incident where they displayed sympathy and rebellion. In addition, this study analyses the circumstances under which each character displayed his or her rebellious characters or sympathies to another character. At the end of the story, it is clear that the narrator loses everything. ‘The War Against the Trees’ describes injustice to trees as natural ecosystem. Bulldozers topple over trees permanently uprooting them in a bid to create land for an oil company. It is evident that natural ecosystem is the victim largely helpless at the time of war.
The A& P narrator is a nineteen-year-old boy working in a checkout line at a shopping store. He is aware of sexual attraction towards the opposite sex, women. Treuren and Anderson study the aspects of generation Y making Sammy fit into this kind of generation. According to them, “The term ‘Generation Y’ to denote employees who are aged less than 30 years old at the time of data collection in September 2007. ‘Generation Y attributes’ and ‘Generation Y employee expectations’ refer to the set of characteristics attributed to Generation Y.” (Treuren and Anderson). The duo’s study explains the challenges employers face with employing the generation Y, of which Sammy is part. This is evident when he describes one of the girls as chunky, having a good tan. His view of the girl’s legs displays his sexual intention. The narrator introduces an old woman, whom he calls a witch in her fifties, with protruding cheekbones and clear eyebrows. As the narrator mentions, she gets angry when he makes a mistake at the checkpoint, making her snort at him as she leaves the store. The girls walking in the store present a third character in the story, with one of them, Queenie, showing a rebellious character. Lengel, the store manager, also openly displays rebellion and sympathy as he performs his duty to rebuke the girls for their dressing and as he persuades Sammy not to quit. Kunitz on the other hand likens injustice to nature to injustice to human life. He looks into the unethical behavior of cutting down trees and destabilizing nature. In defining environmental ethics, Ojomo writes, “It examines the moral basis of environmental responsibility.” (Ojomo). This poem brings out irresponsibility of human activities on natural environment.
Sammy’s sympathetic and rebellious attitudes begin from the time he makes an error at the store’s checkpoint. His attitudes are evident when he notices the anger in the woman’s face and does his best to calm her down by serving her satisfactorily. He refers to good service as smoothing her feathers. As he ogles at the pretty girls, he makes an error. This makes him rub shoulders with the customer at the checkout line who leaves the shop content of tripping Sammy up. His rebellious attitude towards the woman displays when he describes her as witch in her fifties who is too experienced to make mathematical errors and who does not appreciate that mistakes do occur at some point where the woman snorted at him after having her shopping packed. Sammy also shows rebellion at the old woman’s snort by wishing she were born at the time when such women were burned in Salem. Considering his attitudes towards the old woman, Sammy tends to be controlled by how people treat him. The way Sammy describes the three girls at the start of the story reflects his feelings towards them making him rebel to anyone who would dare disappoint them.
In describing the girls, one by one, he is perplexed with their beauty. This attitude displays when he nicknames the most beautiful one, according to him, Queenie. In as much as his attitude is sympathetic, he subconsciously thinks the girls have no brain. He thinks their heads are small with no brains but filled with bees bussing in small jars. This attribute shows how he belittles the girls, judging by their outward exposure in the store. He also believes that it was Queenie’s idea to have them walk into the store and behave as they did, perhaps to create a pretty scene from the way they slowly walked displaying their beauty. This shows his rebellious thoughts towards Queenie who happens to be the most beautiful of them all. Sammy drowns into his feelings towards Queenie, such that even her gesture of picking a folded dollar from her top pocket wows him.
Sammy is rebellious towards Stokesie from the way he introduces him. He asserts that Stokesie was married and had two babies. Despite Stokesie being married, Sammy thinks he is not different from him. He finds it awkward to salivate over the pretty girls yet he is a married man. This rebellious attitude also shows when he says Stokesie hopes to be manager in the future. This is evident from his tone and considering the circumstances surrounding the store at the time of his statement. Still on rebellious attitude towards Stokesie, Sammy describes how old customers get attracted to his counter due his luck in attracting more customers than him leaving him as the only choice for Queenie. Looking at how Sammy sympathizes with McMahon when he watches the girls leave in a direction he showed them. This description, if analyzed, can refer to pity for being too old to think of dating the young girls. Sammy refers to other customers as sheep, probably because they followed the girls with their carts blindly to keep on looking at their beauty and almost naked bodies. He goes on to describe how they even picked commodities they were not familiar with by pretending to want to buy them.
The narrator’s strongest rebellion sets in when Lengel emerges from his office disrupting visitor’s views. He thinks Lengel interfered with their good time and expected the negative attitude towards the girls. Sammy is of an opinion that Lengel’s reaction was improper. The latter mentions that the store was not a beach, a remark that does not amuse Sammy who finds it rude. As Lengel repeats that the store was not a beach, he finds it awkward as the store is not an area filled with sand dunes, and Lengel is not a lifeguard.
Sammy thinks Lengel should not display to everybody that he was the boss in charge. As he listens to the harsh conversation, he thinks that the policy on dressing is not necessary and is not what every other customer wants; it is old fashioned. This statement shows that Lengel put policies that were not classy and that only derailed modernization. Sammy’s agitation worsens, and he decides to quit. He did not like how Lengel treated the pretty girls. Lengel did not have to embarrass the pretty angels in front of the shoppers. Kropp writes about the platinum rule where he quotes other author’s study, “The authors say that with the addition of generation Y into the workforce, leaders must abide by the platinum rule, a new human-relations guiding principle that states we must do unto others as they prefer to be treated.” (Kropp). According to Sammy, Lengel’s attitude disregards the platinum rule making him insensitive to generational needs. When Sammy mentions that he quits, he expects the girls to stop and watch him with sympathize, as he was their hero. Updike calls him the unsuspected hero. They quickly leave the store.
According to Sammy, it is all right for the girls to walk around the store in whatever kind of dressing so long as they were not naked. He underscores this when he advises that other women, with many children, displaying their legs, should be conscious of their dressing before getting out of their cars. By his decision to quit, Sammy decides to climax his rebellious attitude. He decides to offload all the stresses he has stored inside him from the time he started working at the store…”
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