* “character” in What Makes Sammy Run by Budd Schulberg

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 15, 2007

·   Glick is characterized mainly through Manheim’s observations, and only rarely by his own words or actions. ·   simile … “he would come back to me panting, like a frantic puppy retrieving a ball.”  ·   “one stupendous talent, his ability to blow his own horn.” So the die is cast for the rise of Sammy Glick.  ·    “You know what, Mr. Manheim, these are the first brand-new shoes I ever had.” Whenever Sammy calls him Mr. Manheim, that is a signal that he is making an important statement. ·   Sammy’s obsession with shoes is a continuing motif, which is not explained until Manheim learns about Sammy’s family, and the too big, hand-me-down shoes (from his older brother) he had to wear as a young boy, and which were often a source of humiliation to him.  ·   Character development. Sammy grew in superficial ways, ie, he became more successful, but his character never changed significantly. Nor did Manheim’s. At the end of the book, both were essentially the same as at the beginning.  ·   Miss Rosalie Goldbaum. A character introduced so Sammy can throw her aside, which the reader knows instantly will happen.  ·   Julian Blumberg. Another schlub for Sammy to throw aside? Not quite, because Julian has something Sammy will continue to need, the ability to write. ·   Julian is from a background similar to Sammy’s, and offers a contrasting development, taking a moral position to his own detriment that surely Sammy could never do. ·   Who is happier in the end?  ·   Julian Blumberg and Kit Sargent each play their roles in the plot, but neither was allowed to realize the emotional pull that might have been possible. We were never inside their heads so we didn’t have the opportunity to really care about them, although the things that happened to them would have permitted such caring if Schulberg had wanted to go in that direction. ·   “It’s a good evening for me all right. But I don’t know about you, Mr. Manheim.” Sammy says Mr. Manheim, so we know this will be important. And it is. Sammy has undermined his boss and stolen 4 inches of his theater column for what soon becomes “Sammy Glick Broadcasting,” Sammy’s own column about radio. Sammy did it. It was rotten. Yet he doesn’t hide it. He comes right out and tells Manheim, being so brazen as to imply that he did it for Manheim’s benefit 


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