Comparison of the characters in the short stories "A&P" and "An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge"

Essay by DAbribat426College, UndergraduateA, October 2004

download word file, 6 pages 5.0

Downloaded 47 times

Often times in literature for the protagonist to make progress a sacrifice has to be made. This sacrifice can spark progress in the movement of the story or growth in the character themselves. The true development in the story comes not in the sacrifice itself, but in the motives behind the characters actions. In both "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" and "A & P" the protagonist sacrifices something that has a profound impact on his life, but the results of their actions are vastly different.

John Updike develops Sammy, from his short story "A & P", in such a way that the reader senses that his frustration will eventually consume his reason, and that all he is missing is the spark to set off his anger. The only thing we know for sure about Sammy's beliefs is that he hates the atmosphere of the A & P and as a result despises his job.

The rest of his beliefs, as they pertain to the story, are left to deduction. It is ironic that Sammy, who describes the customers in the store as being sheep, ultimately makes a sacrifice to defend the esteem of several young girls shopping in the market. Upon seeing the chastising of the attractive girls by the manager Sammy immediately protests, but is not engaged by the manager and so he quits his post. In case Sammy hadn't realized it, the manager, who is a friend of the family, informs him that life will be hard for him if he quits. It is here that we learn that Sammy is a man of principle and he follows through with his action regardless of its consequences. Lengel, though, was right; because Sammy believes so strongly in his principles his life will be difficult. After making...