The shoes in the novel What Makes Sammy Run referred to the people that Sammy Glick used in order to reach the top he always wanted. While spiraling to the top, he was criticized by many people, especially those who fell victims spearheaded by Al Manheim. Later, Al realized that Sammy was “running” just like everybody but at a much faster alacrity compared to others.
IntroductionA lot of people in this world would rather step someone just to gain a little edge from their current status. A lot of people with different backgrounds—such as race, gender, social class—do this just to reach the top they longed to reach. This is the theme of Budd Schulberg’s novel entitled What Makes Sammy Run? published in 1941. It was a first person minor point of view narration which became brilliantly effective as it was released during the World War II. Although there were some issues, such as anti-Semitism, of Schulberg’s work, it was a swift success as people were in time of desperation in looking for fresh ideas and hopes of alleviating poverty.This paper is aimed at identifying the “shoes” that Sammy used in order to propel his way to the top leaving them behind with wrecked careers and grudges.The StoryShmelka Glickstein, the main character of the novel What Makes Sammy Run? by Budd Schulberg, was an ambitious man who never stopped using people in achieving his goals. He met different people but didn’t have good relationships with them except for Al Manheim who became his only closest friend.
Manheim also was the first person point of view narrator of Shmelka’s (changed into Sammy Glick early in the story) story from rags to riches then to failures.Important CharactersOther characters mentioned in the story were Julian Blumberg, Myron Selznick, Sheik, Sidney Fineman, Harrington, and Laurette (the “golden girl”). Julian Blumberg was the owner of the writings Sammy sold to Myron Selznick, a Hollywood tycoon. Sheik was Sammy’s childhood perpetrator who, after some time, became his ‘slave’ as Sammy sought for justice. Sidney Fineman was Sammy’s manager who then needed his help with Harrington, convincing the Wall Street banker to hire him again despite the failures he incurred in the past. Laurette was Harrington’s daughter whom Sammy fell in love with. However, this “golden girl” did not have any affection towards her fiancée and left Sammy the night after their wedding alone—self-conscious, desperate, and suffering.
SummaryShmelka Glickstein was a Jewish boy who blamed their impoverished life to his father’s principles and calls him son-of-a-bitch. After their rabbi’s refusal of giving him bar mitzvah, he readily discarded his Jewish life and changed his name into Sammy Glick. He then chose to live in the most bizarre way: he violates other people just to get what he wanted. He did not have any good relationships except for Manheim who was the first person point of view narrator of Sammy’s story and also his only closest friend. After falling in love with Laurette, he suffered rejection and ended alone in his life.The “Shoes”The novel What Makes Sammy Run? was a masterpiece delivered just in time and spurred reflections from the readers. The title itself is catchy as one might wonder ‘who or what were the shoes referring to in the life of the main character as well as his story?’The shoes referred to in the story were the people that Sammy used in his journey to stardom. He unwontedly grab hold of ‘opportunities’ that came before him.
He kept changing his ‘shoes’ until he reached his destination.Al Manheim was his first victim. He impressed the managing editor of the New York press by “correcting” or rather rewriting Manheim’s paper he was assigned to bring to the printing room. As a result, Sammy was given a column in the newspaper.Another victim was Julian Blumberg. He approached Sammy for his critical opinion about the papers Blumberg wrote.
But Sammy, did not just comment on the paper but sold it as his own to a Hollywood business tycoon which gave him a break into show business and stardom.At the peak of his success were several ghostwriters which he hired to write for him. Sammy was able to reach high heights barely writing for himself. He unscrupulously used people as his “shoes” when he “runs” for his dreams.The Pay-offPerhaps the most withstanding person to ever counter Sammy’s behavior was his own closest friend, Manheim.
He dug into Sammy’s dark past and realized why he played dirtily. Just like the other people whom Sammy used, he thought of investigating Sammy’s past and was deemed successful in his efforts. He found out that Sammy grew up in a dog-eat-dog world which everything that he learned from the very beginning he successfully applied in his conquest, though, it is of much higher level. Sammy wanted to get rid of poverty proven in the early part of the novel when he blamed his father’s principles for their impoverished life. But then, his tricks paid off. He failed to have a good relationship with the girl he solely loved.ConclusionPeople dream of big things. Attaining it depends upon the person and his capabilities honed by time and experience.
In What Makes Sammy Runs?, Sammy was the one who ran so fast until he reached his goal. However, he became successful only because he was using other people as if “eating and having them”. But all of it paid off when he ended without any good relationships. Although his story was “from rags to riches,” he began a failure and also ended a failure.