Examples Of Heroicism In John Updike's Short Story 'A & P'
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To be heroic means that a person chooses to be brave and do the right thing even if doing the right thing seems less rewarding, is more difficult, or both. The protagonist in John Updike's short story "A & P" is not heroic. In the story, the protagonist sees three girls dressed in only bathing suits enter the store he was working in, and his manager told them that they were not allowed to wear swimsuits in the store. Then Sammy stands up for the girls and quits his job in hopes of impressing them. When examining Sammy motivation, actions, and the other choices he could have made it is obvious that what he did was not heroic. He decided that trying to impress a girl that is a stranger is more important than doing what is right. Considering the other course of action Sammy could have taken, it would have required him to be more courageous and do what is just. Being heroic is the equivalent of being a hero, and Sammy was not a true hero.
To be able to understand why Sammy is not heroic, it is important to consider what motivated him. The story opens up with three girls who enter a store only wearing bathing suits and Sammy is clearly attracted to them. Especially, the girl he calls Queenie as he describes her as being, “…more than pretty” (pg. 60). As Sammy is ringing up her order, he observes Queenie’s hand and comments on how she does not have a ring or a bracelet. Since Queenie does not have a ring or bracelet, Sammy probably believes that she is single and finds her hand to