Are the pilot’s actions in “The Cold Equations” “good” actions or “bad” actions? What examples from the story make you think this? 

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lynn30k eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think you could make an argument for either case, depending on whose point of view you consider. From the point of view of the girl, Marilyn, who stows away on the spaceship, the pilot's actions are bad. She will be jettisoned into space and die, and had not considered the reality of what had to happen once she was discovered. There is a regulation in place that says that stowaways are to be ejected immediately; even then the pilot might have let her stay--he did let her stay as long as possible, and allowed her to contact her brother. But ultimately the pilot had to make a choice that was for the greater good. His ship was carrying supplies and medicine to a colony on a far away planet, and was carrying exactly enough fuel to arrive there. If he did not get to the colony, all would die. This is the case for the pilot's actions being considered good. He really had no choice, and it hurt him to have to send the girl to her death. Even she understands it is the only choice, as it is for the greater good.