Why did David's girlfriend react the way she did when she found out that David was Jewish?From the movie School Ties

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The break up of Sally and David was predicated upon the latter being Jewish and the former lacking the courage to rebuke a society that is intolerant of intercultural relationships.  Sally is an extension of the Protestant culture that envelops David.  When his religion was concealed, David was a "catch" for Sally, in that he embodied everything she found attractive.  Yet, when his religion is revealed to be different than the cultural norms, Sally recognizes that the weight of this is too great to bear.  Sally is not overtly anti- Semitic.  Yet, she lacks the intestinal courage to look past David's difference in being Jewish.  When she tells him at the swim meet that their relationship "just can't happen," her acquiescence to society's ignorance is on full display.  She breaks up with him and reacts the way she does because Sally does no wish to face society's rebuke and lose face in such a social setting.  Her reaction is representative of how stratified and rigid social norms were, and in some parts, still are.