In "A & P," is Sammy a hero? Why or why not?

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sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

On the other side, Updike does make Sammy heroic.  His heroism is flawed, as is true of most modern protagonists, but it is present.  He is offended by the treatment the girls receive.  Granted, his offense is in direct proportion of his attraction, but there is validity to it.  Sammy makes judgments about all the customers at the store, but he does not stoop to insult any of them.  He treats them all the same, and expects his manager to.  However, as a well-raised young man, Sammy would not consider challenging authority.  The girls provide a change.  Sammy finds in them the impetus he needs to challenge society, challenge authority.  Although readers can argue he only wants the girls attention, it is important to note that the girls ignore him.  Sammy knows that they are ignoring him, but he still walks out.  He does not try to talk his way out of the situation, he does not allow Lengel to convince him to stay.  Sammy, having been given the opportunity, now wants to see it through.  That is heroic, the convinction to beliefs that he shows as protagonists, especially when coupled with his epiphany of  "how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter''.

kwoo1213 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

No, Sammy would not be characterized as a hero.  His actions were foolish, actually, and immature.  By quitting his job, he has made a huge mistake and he realizes at the end of the story that life is much harder and will be much harder than he ever anticipated.  He seems to realize the foolishness and hasty nature of his actions.  Because he wanted to impress the oldest girl in the group of girls that were in the store, he resorted to try to "take up" for them; however, in doing so, he overstepped his boundaries (he should have kept his mouth shut LOL!) and thought he would be seen as a hero by the girls.  As he walks out, though, the girls are gone and he realizes that he is not a hero at all.

sarahsilva11 | Student

yes he is a hero because in a way he serves injustice and didnt efect any change he also rebeled and he was heroic when he stood up for what he belived in