The protagonist of "Ace in the Hole." Ace is a profoundly depressed husband and father who reminisces frequently about his time as a high-school basketball star.
Ace Anderson's pragmatic wife. She is Roman Catholic and alternates rapidly between friendly sarcasm and vindictiveness.
Ace's mother watches her granddaughter, Bonnie, while Ace and Evey are at work. She loves her son, defending him when he gets fired, while constantly complaining about Evey.
Ace Anderson’s former boss who fires him for a parking mishap before the narrative of “Ace in the Hole” begins.
Ace Anderson’s infant daughter.
Ace Anderson’s high-school basketball coach. Ace thinks of him often and fondly.
A 19-year-old cashier at an A & P supermarket, and the narrator of "A & P." He quits his job in a fit of teen angst and sexual attraction.
A male cashier at A & P.
A beautiful young woman who shops at the A & P with her friends wearing nothing but a bathing suit.
The butcher at A & P.
The straight-laced manager of A & P.
The fourteen-year-old main character of "Pigeon Feathers." He is consumed by fears of mortality, and seeks out answers in books, at church, and in the natural world.
David's kindly mother, who appreciates nature and is closely attuned to the people around her.
David's overbearing father is a schoolteacher with a very negative outlook on life. He hates living on a farm and resents his wife's affinity for organic farming.
David Kern's maternal grandmother, who lives with his family and is afflicted by Parkinson's disease.
The Lutheran minister of the Kerns' church. He is unable to give adequate answers when David questions him about the afterlife in Sunday school.
The wealthy man from whom the Kerns bought their farm.
David's Sunday school classmate. She giggles at his questions during class. Her father, head of the most influential family in Firetown, drops David off after class.
"Separating" is told from the perspective of its protagonist, Richard Maple, a husband and father to four children.
The down-to-earth but self-absorbed wife and mother in "Separating."
The sophisticated eldest Maple daughter who has just returned from studying abroad in "Separating."
The second-eldest Maple child. He has just started college and is at home for the summer. He works at a golf course. Richard refers to him as his "conscience."
Richard and Joan's youngest son John is 15 at the time of "Separating." He acts immaturely when told of his parents' split and is more concerned with escaping his own miserable experiences at school.
The youngest Maple child, 13.
Fogel is an irritable 62-year-old man and the main character of "Short Easter." He is very conscious of his aging and is plagued by memories of missed opportunities.
Fogel's spry, energetic wife frequently nags him to do chores and abandon his "doddery" old-man habits. Although she is arguably more youthful than he is, Fogel nevertheless longs for a younger wife who would have more sympathy for his problems.
The hosts of the brunch Fogel attends with his wife in “Short Easter.”
A&P and Other Stories Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for A&P and Other Stories is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Sammy understands that the world is not a fair place. He now sees the social, cultural, and sexual injustices that will never go away. Sammy knows that if the supermarket incident is strong enough to make him quit a job he needs, he will have a...
Detail gives us a sense of the cultural, sexual, and economic forces at play within the supermarket. Sammy must carefully consider all the details going on around him to make his final conclusion. The details help make Sammy's insight at the end...
In the final section of “A & P,” Updike explores the notion that policy is nothing more than enforced desire. As Sammy observes, “policy is what the kingpins want. What the others want is juvenile delinquency” (600). Those that make the rules...