2. But it seems to me that once you begin a gesture it’s fatal not to go through with it.

Sammy makes this resolution near the end of the story, as Lengel tries to dissuade him from quitting his job. The issue here for Sammy is one of authenticity. Sammy thinks that it would be “fatal” for him not to complete the gesture of quitting over Lengel’s treatment of the girls because the gesture in question has become a matter of self-definition. By quitting, Sammy intends to align himself with Queenie’s world, a world of sophistication, youth, and beauty, whose values seem opposite to those of the A&P. If he doesn’t go through with quitting, he feels he’ll be accepting the values he has come to associate with the A&P: conformity, authority, and shallow materialism. The problem for Sammy is that he discovers that going through with such a self-defining gesture is just as “fatal” as not going through with it—fatal in the sense of determining one’s fate. Sammy makes his dramatic gesture, but he must now live with the consequences.