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

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ajacks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.