A character in a story is regarded as a fictional representation of a person and is mostly a psychologically realistic description. Different authors have various ways of bringing out characters in a story. However, most of the authors use narrators in their stories to tell the reader what is happening in the story as well as describing different characters in the story. For instance, John Updike in A & P uses Sammy to narrate the story, and events happening in the story as well as introducing and describing other minor characters in the story.
Characters help in developing the story and enriching it with quality content. There are various types of characters; round, flat, static and dynamic among others (Brown 19). However, in this essay I will look at two main round characters in the A & P and Gryphon. Sammy and Tommy are the main protagonists in their respective short stories, this makes them flat characters in the story because they play a major role in helping the reader understand what is going on in the story through narration. The characters are realistic, and just like real people, they are not perfect in their actions as is evident in the story. For instance, Sammy in the A & P helps the reader understand what kind of people he was living with in his town. He further goes ahead to introduce other characters in the story such as the girls who enter the store while wearing bathing suits. Tommy, on the other hand, narrates a story about their fourth grade teacher Ms. Ferenczi, who has just arrived at the school as a substitute teacher. Tommy further goes ahead to narrate how she relates to her students during learning hours, and how she has a weird way of teaching.
Sammy and Tommy are similar in that they both do not value women in their lives. For instance, in the case of Sammy, simply because her mother ironed his shirt in the morning, he thinks that she is a slave farmer. This means that Sammy views all women the same, especially the old (Scott 400). He even goes further to refer them as witches; subsequently he states that women with children should come out of their homes fully dressed. His mother, although an authority figure in her does not bother Sammy, and he does not respect her even a little bit. Tommy, on the other hand, has similar feelings towards her mother, and he even thinks that she is stereotypical. This shows that the two characters do not have any respect for their mothers, although they represent an authority figure in their lives.
The difference between the two characters is that in the case of Tommy, who is only in the fourth grade, the author has developed his character in such a way that he thinks like a fourth grader, and his opinions and thoughts are not those of an adult. Therefore, in his case, he is able to cope with the situations of life, as he respects and admires the substitute teacher. Although the teacher uses the language that fourth graders do not understand, he makes an effort to enjoy her class. When the teacher is sent away due to some students Sammy fights them because he does not understand why they think the teacher should go and according to him, her teaching methods are all right. On the other hand, Sammy does not like the manager of the A & P, especially how he speaks to the three girls who enter the store. He believes that he should not stay in that miserable job, just as Stockesie is at his job. When the manager asks the girls not to come back at the store half-naked or dressed in bathing suits, Sammy quits his job, as he does not appreciate how the manager talks to the girls. This shows that Sammy does not respect his authority figure in his work place.
On the issue of the inflexible social systems in the society, Sammy feels that he cannot live with the people of his town because they behave in a sheepish behavior. He wants to be in a place where he makes his own rules, and he does not have to be judged for his actions. For example, when the girls enter the store, everybody in the store stops what they are doing just to stare at the girls. This behavior displeases Sammy, and he quits his jobs so that he can walk away from the inflexible society. In the case of Tommy, he is a fourth grader and does not have the knowledge of the instabilities that are happening in his society. Charles in the Gryphon ensures that the thoughts that Tommy has on the teacher and the school are not those of an adult (Joshua 71). The two characters are different as their line of thinking is different. For instance, Sammy is trying to find a way to improve his life through working so that he cannot disappoint his parents. Even when he quits his job, he is reminded of how he is going to hurt his parents. Tommy, on the other hand, is making an effort to improve his life by going to school to acquire an education.
Brown, Susie. Constructing Narratives. Balcatta, WA: R. I. C. Publications, 2005. Print.
Joshua, Finnel. "Gryphon: New and Selected Stories." Library Journal 135.17 (2010): p71-71. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.
Scott, Dill. "Affection for the World." John Updike on Emotion, Sense and Style 54.4 (2013): p395-409. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.