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Why Sammy Quit

            In Updike's "A & P", the story is set in an A & P supermarket in a town north of Boston in the 1960's. Sammy works as the checkout clerk in the store and on a typical day he makes the decision to quit. What led to his decision to quit? One of the reasons is that he wanted to impress the three scantily dressed girls. But there is a deeper force behind his spur of the moment decision. Sammy realized how bored he was in the grocery store world. He realized he was no better than one of the "sheep" he makes fun of. And this was bad because he didn't want to be another one of the sheep. By quitting, he is rebelling against the constraints of society, which were set for him on a smaller scale by his boss at the time. Sammy quits to prove something to himself: he is not a "sheep" like the others. .
             Sammy's a typical teenager who is very imaginative in his thinking. His descriptions of the girls show this: "She was a chunky kid, with a good tan and a sweet broad soft-looking can with those two crescents of white just under it, where the sun never seems to hit." Sammy really enjoys the entertainment the girls bring into his ho-hum job. All the men of the grocery store are watching the girls lustfully as they stroll along the aisles. But as Sammy watches the butcher, "Patting his mouth and looking after them, sizing up their joints", he feels sorry for them. Once the make their way to the register with their purchase, the manager falsely tells them that its store policy to have their shoulders covered, Sammy says to himself, "That's policy for you. Policy is what the kingpins want. What the others want is juvenile delinquency." He now identifies with the girls; he is one of the others who disagrees with the kingpins. .
             Henceforth, the girls in the bathing suits indirectly inspired Sammy to quit. He thought they were better than him and he wanted to change that. When the manager yelled at them for inappropriate dress in his store, Sammy saw his chance to kill two birds with one stone.

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