Explain Sammy's motivation in quitting is job in "A&P."

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Sammy is performing his duties as a cashier in the A&P store when he becomes aware of the presence of three girls. The girls seem to be attracting attention because of how they are dressed. The store is located near a beach, and the girls have entered the store in...

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Sammy is performing his duties as a cashier in the A&P store when he becomes aware of the presence of three girls. The girls seem to be attracting attention because of how they are dressed. The store is located near a beach, and the girls have entered the store in their swimsuits. During the time period of the story, the late 1950s or early 1960s, it was considered pretty unusual and inappropriate for girls to enter the store without covering themselves. The manager of the store brings this to their attention when he states, "We want you decently dressed when you come in here."

Sammy refers to the other customers in the store as "sheep." He uses this label to describe how the customers conform to the rules of society. Sammy sees the girls' rebelliousness in their nonconformity. After the manager reprimands the girls for their attire, Sammy quits his job. His motivation in doing so is to support the girls in their nonconformity. However, he did not manage to get the attention he wanted from the girls, and he realizes that choices have consequences.

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Sammy, the narrator and protagonist of “A & P,” is a stereotypical nineteen-year-old working in a supermarket in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s in suburban America. He is bored with his job and spends most of his time commenting on what he sees, both inside and outside the grocery store. However, something happens one day that will change his life forever.

When he sees a group of girls wearing bathing suits in the store, naturally he is drawn to them.  Unfortunately, the manager of the store is conservative, and asks the girls to leave since they are not “appropriately” dressed.  In what a first seems to be an act to impress the girls, he quits his job in protest of what the manager has done.  However, there are other motives as well: Sammy is also rebelling against the morals of such a strict society, and in a way realizing that he can no longer work under this kind of repression. He realizes later what he has done will have future repercussions on his life if he doesn’t follow the acceptable morays of society at the time, and he knows he has crossed the line between adolescence and adulthood.

 

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