Why does Sammy quit his job so suddenly in "A&P"? Is his gesture genuinely heroic, or is it merely the misguided idealism of a rebellious adolescent? How is it prepared for earlier in the story? Why is it ironic?

Sammy quits his job so suddenly in an attempt to impress Queenie and gain her admiration. Since Sammy hopes to personally benefit from his dramatic decision, his quitting is not genuinely heroic and would constitute merely the misguided idealism of a rebellious adolescent. Sammy's motive is revealed earlier in the story through his elevated perception of Queenie, and it is ironic that his gesture goes unnoticed by the girls.

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In "A&P," Sammy quits his job as a romantic gesture in an attempt to gain Queenie's attention and admiration. Sammy hopes that Queenie will take notice of his gesture and possibly entertain the idea of dating him. Sammy is portrayed as a cynical teenager who dislikes his mundane job and...

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In "A&P," Sammy quits his job as a romantic gesture in an attempt to gain Queenie's attention and admiration. Sammy hopes that Queenie will take notice of his gesture and possibly entertain the idea of dating him. Sammy is portrayed as a cynical teenager who dislikes his mundane job and strict manager, Lengel. Once Sammy spots Queenie and her group of friends wearing bathing suits as they casually shop, he pauses from his typical routine and follows them with his eyes through the aisles. As soon as girls reach his checkout register, Lengel walks out of his office and comments on their bathing suits. Lengel embarrasses the girls by saying that their attire is against the store's policy and advises them to put on decent clothes before entering the store again.

After Lengel chastises the girls, Sammy comes to their defense by quitting on the spot. Sammy provides insight into his dramatic decision by saying, "The girls, and who'd blame them, are in a hurry to get out, so I say "I quit" to Lengel quick enough for them to hear, hoping they'll stop and watch me, their unsuspected hero." The fact that Sammy hopes the girls hear him quit and refers to himself as their "unsuspected hero" indicates that his gesture is not genuinely heroic and is more than likely the misguided idealism of a rebellious adolescent. For Sammy's gesture to be genuinely romantic, he would need to have no ulterior motive or plan to personally benefit from his sacrifice. Sammy is clearly interested in gaining Queenie's attention, which is evident from his elevated view of her. Simply by naming her "Queenie," commenting on her attractive body, and imagining her luxurious life, Sammy reveals that he has an ulterior motive when he comes to her defense. Sammy naively believes that Queenie will be grateful for his sacrifice and give him the opportunity to experience her privileged life. Ironically, Sammy's gesture goes unnoticed by the girls, and he receives no recognition for his dramatic action.

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Sammy quits his job as a cashier at the local A&P in order to impress the attractive girl he refers to as Queenie. Sammy takes a stand for romantic love and idealistically believes that Queenie will acknowledge his valiant defense. Sammy hopes that his "heroic" act will lead to a budding romance with Queenie. Unfortunately, Sammy publicly quits his job and discovers that Queenie and her friends have immediately left the premises without acknowledging his efforts.

One could argue that Sammy's gesture is merely the misguided idealism of a rebellious adolescent. Sammy resents his authoritative boss and takes pleasure in disobeying Lengel. He also naively believes that rescuing Queenie from the authoritative, oppressive Lengel will lead to a romance with the girl of his dreams. Updike utilizes numerous classical overtones to emphasize Sammy's misguided idealism; it is as if he's playing the role of hero in an Arthurian legend.

One could also argue that Sammy's action is not genuinely heroic, because he has ulterior motives. He is primarily concerned with winning Queenie's heart and does not take a stand simply to defend injustice. It is important to note that Sammy is not attracted to Queenie's friends and would more than likely remain silent if Queenie was not present. Despite Sammy's valiant attempt to gain Queenie's admiration, he walks to the parking lot and accepts the harsh reality of his bold choice. The irony of the story is that Sammy's bold stance backfires, as his romantic notions are crushed by the realistic world.

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There are quite a few questions being asked here. I believe that the first question is the main question. The second question actually provides two possible answers to the first question. Either of those choices can be defended too. It's possible that Sammy genuinely thinks that his act will be so heroic in Queenie's eyes that she'll thank him as her knight in shining armor. It's also possible that Sammy believes in his ideals about how Lengel is unfairly treating the girls. Sammy doesn't care what the girls think; he just wants to make a stand against Lengel and what he stands for. I don't think either of those possibilities is the reason that Sammy quits his job so suddenly. I think his main motivation is trying to impress the girls in some way. He wants them to notice him as something more than just a cashier in the store. He doesn't care what the old ladies in the store think about him, because he hardly notices them in return; however, he definitely notices Queenie. Readers get huge amounts of detail about her bathing suit and where she pulled her money from.

Now her hands are empty, not a ring or a bracelet, bare as God made them, and I wonder where the money's coming from. Still with that prim look she lifts a folded dollar bill out of the hollow at the center of her nubbled pink top. . . .

I uncrease the bill, tenderly as you may imagine, it just having come from between the two smoothest scoops of vanilla I had ever known were there, and pass a half and a penny into her narrow pink palm, and nestle the herrings in a bag and twist its neck and hand it over, all the time thinking.

Sammy quits because he wants her to notice him, and quitting his job is just about the only rebellious "look at me" action he has to play. He might believe his action is heroic.

The girls, and who'd blame them, are in a hurry to get out, so I say "I quit" to Lengel quick enough for them to hear, hoping they'll stop and watch me, their unsuspected hero.

Unfortunately, a truly heroic act isn't self-serving, and Sammy is definitely hoping his actions impress Queenie.

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