It is not a secret that most men want to be heroes. On the other hand, there is also a type of men who want to be led by their parents, by the woman, or by the chef. They cannot decide themselves. They are not interesting for the surrounding society. There are men who pretend to be the heroes.
First of all, the aim of being the hero is laid on the genetic level. From the very beginning of the world, a man was hero of life: he had to hunt for food which was not safe at all, to protect his home and his family, and later, to protect the countries during the wartimes, etc.
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Secondly, nowadays, from the first years of living, the public opinion is imposed by the movies, the books, and the computer games which prove that a man is a hero by his nature. So, some men try to live in line with this opinion. Sometimes, they manage to do it, sometimes not. There are also different types of heroism. Sometimes, heroism is like a show. That means that the man is ready to be a hero only if there are spectators. In the other case, he would not even think about the acting. There is no sense to talk about the acting itself. The other type is the opposite of this one. The difference is that this hero will act when the subject of the heroism does not notice that. The real heroism is when someone acts and does not expect any thankfulness and any appreciation.
A great example of the second type is Sammy from the A&P story by John Updike. He is an ordinary clerk who works in the A&P grocery store. Once, three girls in the swimming suits come to the grocery. It is obvious that they are dressed for the beach and come to the store on their way there or back. Among them, there is a girl whom Sammy immediately fall in love with. He understands that she is the girl of his dream. He even gives her a name “Queenie” which sounds softer and lovelier than, for example, just “Queen”. Queenie is a name which perfectly characterizes that girl. The autor describes her appearance and the way of walking through the store during the biggest part of the story.
At the end of the story, when the manager shouts at the girls that they are not dressed in the proper way, Sammy loses his voice and cannot say anything. However, after the girls leave the store, he decides to quit.
Firstly, it may seem that the reason was to impress the girls. He hoped that they will notice what he did and will turn their attention to his personality. Queenie’s opinion was the most interesting and important for Sammy. She already means something better and bigger for him.
It looks like Sammy quitted in a kind of protest. It may be his way of showing that he did not want to be one of the sheep in the town. For example, he quitted, because he thought that it is the best option after the wrong thing was done. So, he took the consequences instead of staying. Sammy is a typical American who is trying to find his way. The end of the story shows that the world is pretty cruel and hard for him because as he lives in a small town soon everyone will know that he quitted. He will get the status of a quitter which is not good for his career at all. In such a way, he disappointed his parents. He quitted his job and lost his good name in order to impress the girls who just disappeared a moment before he went out.
However, there could be another interpretation of his act. First of all, the girl of his dream whom he loved was offended. He could not stand this and as a hero, made an impulsive decision. Besides, the heroes always have to react immediately; sometimes, there is no time to think properly. He did not do anything while the girls were nearby, because he did not want to fall to the same level as the manager. If he started to argue or fight, it would seem very heroic, but it would be just a show. Furthermore, it would be also confusing for the girls, because such a behavior would obligate them for the response action or something like that. So, from all points of view, it would do more harm than good. This would be not the heroism but the “heroism”.
He waited until they left and then claimed that he quits. This is a kind of the real heroism and the real man’s action. That means that he is dignified and benign. It is very important, because in the world, every year, there are less and less men like him. He shows how it is important to have something more in the soul than the wish to look better in someone’s eyes.
The consequence of Sammy’s impulsive and rash action is a possible social downfall, the disappointment of the parents, the future problems with finding the new job, but, on the other hand, this man has shown how heroic and fearless he is. He is unadvised and decisive as a real man. A person like him will always find his place.
Sammy is a cynical and romantic person, so he will be attracted to women. Now, he is just too young. That means that there will be no problems for him to be liked by other girls and women. He is also strong and confident, thus he will be able to find the job even in the small town or will be adventurous to move to the other city. Anyway, he will be able to find his own way in the life.
At the end, he realized that the world was going to be so hard for him after this situation, but he still refused to follow the general ways. He is not like the other men.
To conclude, Sammy’s quit is a very disputable question, and there are so many thoughts as many people have read the A&P story. It is important for him to decide whether it was heroism or mistake, the downfall or the new start of the rising up will follow this situation. Perhaps, these questions are open in order to make the reader think and decide for himself how to treat Sammy.