In John Updike's story "A&P," how is Sammy romantic?

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podunc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Despite his hard-edged dialogue, Sammy reveals his romantic nature at the end of "A&P." When the store's manager reprimands a pretty young girl, who Sammy calls "Queenie," for being improperly dressed, Sammy decides to stand up for her by quitting his job. As Queenie and her friends leave the store, Sammy tells the manager "I quit" in a voice he hopes she will hear, so that she will realize he is her "unsuspecting hero" and savior. 

Sammy's chivalric "gesture" falls flat, however, when Queenie continues walking, unaware of or unimpressed by his act of sacrifice. When Sammy follows her outside, she is gone, and he is left with no girl and no job. It is at that moment, he says, that he realizes "how hard the world was going to be" to him from then on.