Does anything lead you to expect Sammy to make some gesture of sympathy towards the three girls?  

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When I first read the short story  A&P back when I was a teenager myself, I remember feeling very identified with Sammy because I felt that I would have done the same thing if I had been a boy. Think about this: The main character is in a bit of an embarrasing situation by being behind the counter while other kids his own age are out there enjoying their break. This shows that he had a need for working, whereas the girls did not. Because of his age, he probably felt uncool in front of them, and that was the reason why he opted to sympathize...

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