Paddy Chayefsky's short story "Marty" is set in a Bronx style atmosphere. The story revolves around Marty Pilletti (the protagonist) as he struggles with shyness and a lack of self-confidence in his attempt to find love. When Marty gets his chance at love, the relationship is beset with opposition from family and friends. The answer to the common question "What is the author trying to tell us?" asked of most interpretative stories can be found by a close examination of the plot.
Again, the conflict is within Marty. He battles with shyness, inexperience, and a feeling that whatever women are looking for in a man "I ain't got it" (1.915). The inciting moment occurs when Marty decides to call Mary Feeney and ask her to attend a movie with him. Marty isn't really interested in this girl, but he is still upset when she turns him down. .
The action rises when Marty is pressured by his mother to go to the Waverly Ballroom. Marty argues heatedly with his mother and tells her he won't go because "all that ever happened to me there was girls made me feel like I was a bug. [ ] I had enough pain" (1.915). Act I ends with Marty reluctantly agreeing to go to the dance hall. .
The action intensifies in Act II when Marty is approached by a young man who offers him five dollars to "take the dog [the young man's blind date] home" (2.917). Marty, being the kindhearted man that he is, told the young man that it was wrong to ditch his date. He watches the young man move toward someone else who appears to be more receptive. Marty sees them speak with the girl at the table where she is sitting. When the men leave, the girl gets up from the table.
The action rises further when Marty follows the girl, Clara Davis, out to the fire escape. He asks her to dance. She goes to him and cries on his shoulder for a while. Marty consoles her, and they share their need for a sense of worth in a world where looks are too highly rated.