Response Paper: Antigone, “A&P,” and “Good Fellows” In reading the stories, it was hard for me to decide and choose what exactly I wanted to focus on. But after brainstorming common themes and comparing the plots, I narrowed my focus to choice making and what it meant for the characters in the stories. I noticed that making choices and dealing with the “consequences” and aftermath of these choices were prominent in the stories: Antigone by Sophocles, and “A&P” by John Updike.
In Antigone, several characters are faced with obstacles that force them to make both good and bad decisions, including: punishment and suicide. The main character Antigone sets the stage for decision making as she chooses NOT to marry her fiance, to burry her dead brother’s body, and ultimately in the end to commit suicide. As seen in “A&P,” the main character Sammy is also struggling in choice making, and whether his choices were actually worth it. As Sammy continues his daily tasks as a grocer, he observes three young girls being mistreated by his “boss,” and he acts on impulse.
He confronts his boss, which later results in him quitting his job. In the end, he is puzzled by whether or not it was worth it. Since none of the three girls acknowledged his “good deed,” and he no longer has a paying job, he wonders if he made the wrong choice. Both Antigone and Sammy think they are making the right choices and doing the “right thing,” but neither of them receives the outcome they expected. In some cases these individuals might be seen as making rash decisions, but for me they actions were justified.
So very often I see people doing nice things for strangers and making choices on their behalf similar to what Sammy did. In Antigone’s case, her actions were deemed punishable simply due to the time period in which she lived. If she lived in today’s society, she would have no problem burying her brother even if he was the “black sheep,” and killed their own brother. When I think about this situation, I think about criminal in jails, and those sentenced to the death penalty. For them there is still a way to be punished, but the family doesn’t have to suffer, and they receive an “honorable” and dignified burial.