54 pages 1 hour read

John Updike


Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1961

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt student engagement.

Reading Questions & Paired Texts

Reading Check and Short Answer questions on key points are designed for guided reading assignments, in-class review, formative assessment, quizzes, and more.

Reading Check

1. Where does the story take place?

2. What name does the narrator give to the most beautiful girl?

3. What item do the girls purchase?

4. What is Lengel’s job?

Short Answer

Answer each question in at least 1 complete sentence. Incorporate details from the text to support your response.

1. What is unusual about the way Queenie wears her bathing suit?

2. What does Sammy say to his boss in response to Lengel’s treatment of the girls?

3. The narrator compares the other shoppers at the store to which two animals?

4. What does Sammy think his life will be like at the end of the story?

Recommended Next Reads 

“Eleven” by Sandra Cisneros

  • This story about a young girl who finds herself in a difficult situation on her birthday is written in first person and often veers into stream-of-consciousness to emphasize the narrator’s youthful perspective and her overwhelming emotions.
  • Theme connections include Conformity and Individualism and Growing Up, Attraction, and Self-Expression.
  • Shared topics include growing up, the unreliable narrator, and the subjectivity of experience versus the truth.
  • “Eleven” on SuperSummary