The Last Good Man by Patience Swift
A man said to be a visitor was drowning in the sea and people gathered at the shore watching and shouting and expressing their wish that the man gets out alive. They expect that the sea patrol is prompt enough to save this dying man. Sam stood the tallest among the watchers, about six inches taller than the others. He said things that those around him did not understand or rather feel that he was a pessimist. He said, not to anyone exactly, that the man is soon going to die because he cannot fight with the waves. He should have stayed still and let the wave take him away until he gets to a place where the water is calm then he could swim to the shore. But as it is, the man struggles until he lost his strength and finally went bellow the water before the rescue team could find him. The man’s two children were in a small boat and Sam said they will not die. The watchers were sad that the man did not survive, some cried. Sam went down to buy some food stuff when he met this crowed. When it was sure that the man was dead, he went home.
On his way home, Sam rested and then continued again until he got home. He entered his house, spoke to his fridge about the gas he has to fill for fridge to continue working. He also spoke to his kitchen. He thought about how he would go out to work for other people to help his mother in the house before she had stroke, fell there in the kitchen and died before anyone could come around to help. It rained at night and Sam had night mares as he slept that made him to sit up with a start and shout “What’s this then? What’s this?
Isobel was also in the crowd. She just came into town and joined the crowd to watch the dying man. When the crowd were dispersing she proceeded to find a hotel where she would lodge for moment. She sees a shop and stops to ask the boy tending it if it was a book shop before it was changed. The boy responded unkindly feeling that it was absurd for her to be looking for book when someone is struggling for live in the sea. Isobel helped to sell books in the shop years ago before she left town. Now she wishes she would go in and read a book. She remembers a book she had read in the shop many years ago about Heloise, about how one has to respond to the desires of his heart like a slave.
She stayed in the hotel and thought he mother and her father, about when she had an argument with her mother before she left only to come back after ten years. While she was away, she sent and received letters from her mother.
Sam was woken up by a cat the cried at the window. He wondered whether to go out and build a wall for a farmer were he could get paid. Sam spoke to the kitchen about his bad night and said that the cat should have come when it rained at night. He made breakfast for the two of them and they ate as always. His father died years ago when he was four, before his mother. It was in the sea where his father went to save some people who got trapped in the middle of the see and the wave was rising. The wave was so strong that it hit the lifeboat and threw Sam’s father off into the sea where he died.
When Sam was young, he stopped schooling and would always go out to get some job at building sites to do for money. And sometimes, he had to walk for miles to get one. He likes to sometimes sleep at the beach to hear the rustle of the crabs and the sound of the surf.
Isobel stayed a bit at the hotel when it was morning, thinking about the love story she had read Abelard and Heloise who were teacher and students. Abelard was castrated and Heloise was sent to the nunnery but the two always still love each other and were buried side by side when they died.
Sam climbed a rock to look out to the sea and later decided to go down and walk by the sea. From a distance he saw what looked like a seal, something he usually saw at the beach. This time, it was a little girl. He turned her over, pumped her chest as he has seen it down to revive dying people. He was about to give up, when she breathed and spat out water. He helped her up and she smiled
Sam smiled back at the little girl wearing a black dress. She was wet but as they walked towards Sam’s house, she became dry. She looked healthy and smart within minutes. The little girl did not feel strange it seemed she is conversant with a lot of things as they walked. She let go of Sam’s hand to look into cracks in the rocks to see crabs, seaweed and anemones. He would not play with children just like adults because he had no friends but here he is with the little girl that is gradually becoming a part of his existence.
Sam asks the rocks where the girl came from wondering that except there is a sunken boat or something, a girl would not just appear on the beach. The girl was still playing on the sand, she was dancing and when Sam approached her, she made him dance with her. Sam excitedly wonders how a little girl got him dancing on the beach.
Sam and the little girl got home, he cooked for the two of them and they ate. He observed that the girl does not talk. She never said anything but she understands when Sam speaks. That did not bother Sam as he said; he talked all the time to his house, kitchen, cat, bench, rock etc. which never respond. The little girl fed the remaining of Sam’s porridge to the seagulls. The girl latter slept. Sam searched through the box where his mother had kept his shoes when he was small and got one for the little girl to wear. The girl later woke up and helped Sam tidy up the environment.
Isabel sat in the porch of her mother’s house before she went back to sit in front of the hotel eating as she thought about the tourist that died in the sea the previous day. She wondered what his plan for that day could have been before everything ended meaninglessly in the sea; what little action could have occurred to save him from dying. She thought about how Abelard would have assessed the situation in a debate using a theological approach. Isabel is a yes or no person whose view of life was always different from other peoples such that her mother would ask her ‘can’t you see what’s right, what’s wrong? Why can’t you see?” and it made her hesitant about expressing her views. But then, Isobel is a good person. She cared for people and always offers to help them.
Isobel left the house with a boy she admired so much, though her mother called him ne’er-do-well. They went and lived with some friends before the boy left her. She did things randomly.
Isobel still thinks of the poor man’s final day which looks like a film to her. She decided to walk to see the village. She found a bench and sat looking down at the bay. While she sat, she thought about how she had made love with several men only as doing them some favour and wondered how her mother would view it if she knew, she her mother would have scolded her that life is not about enjoyment but duty.
Isobel remembered the discussion she had with a doctor at the hospital where she worked, how the doctor had advised her to think of something better to do with her life. He advised her to reconcile with her mother but three days after, she got the news about her mother’s death which made her to go back to the village after ten years. She tuned to her right and saw a huge man and a little girl (Sam and the little girl) advancing and recognized the man as the one who said some odd things at the beach where they all watched the dying man. She though the little girl might be his granddaughter. She lay in the sun at the beach before she went into the cold water to swim for a while. From the water she looked at the cliff and saw a house (Sam’s house) where a long time ago an old woman who worked for her mother lived. The old woman had invited Isobel to tea sometimes. Isobel stopped visiting the woman because she tried to make the woman narrate her childhood experience without success.
Sam and the little girl walked round the village in case someone might see and recognize her. He bought a newspaper to see if there is any news about a missing little girl, but there was none. A man saw the two of them and said he did not know that Sam had any relative. Sam heard him but did not say a word to explain the situation. He asked the bench what he should do now that there was no sign of any missing girl in the village.
Sam felt bad about his fruitless trip to the village while he arranged his kitchen. He felt exposed because he did not like to have to do with people. He loves to be left to himself alone where he has learned to live his world talking with his kitchen and other things around him. The arrival of the child has altered his live. The last person he had cared about was his mother before she had a stroke and died. He lived enclosed in himself before the cat suddenly appeared and later became part of him and now the little girl. He did not what the silence in his life broken, but that is what seems to be happening which Sam feared. He looked around and did not see the girl. When he went to the yard, he saw her sitting on the floor untangling his fishing net craftily just the way he would have done it. She finished untangling the net and they went back into the room through the kitchen do Sam laughing and shaking his head.
Isobel in her mother’s house read postcards as she thought about her mother who died from cancer. Her mother when in the hospital refused to let anyone contact her, Isobel should not be disturbed wherever she was. She observed that a few things have changed in the house. There was a new carpet. She looked at the wedding picture of her parents on the wall and thought why they could not live happily together. Her parents never agreed on a thing. When Isobel was planning on leaving, her father had said that he would also leave if she leaves. She did not take him seriously, but after her, he left to join his sister in Australia where he lived for two years before he died. The love between her father and mother were not the same as of Heloise and Abelard. She was sad that her parents lived a life of pettiness and unhappiness.
Isobel’s father depended on her and shared his worries with her, how he could not get her mother agree with him. When he left, he tried to meet with her but she refused. Now she is sad that despite her willingness to help other people, she could not help her father when he needed her. She searched thought her father’s box and found her old school books and other books and other things. Tired, she slept and woke up after an hour then she went downstairs where she found whisky in the cupboard. She pour some and drank then moved out down toward the noisy beach that was busy with tourist moving around, children playing and other people busy in their own way. It was evening; she walked drunkenly as if dancing.
While the little girl slept in his mother’s bed, Sam thought about how the arrival of the girl has changed the earlier silence he enjoyed alone but he is enjoying her company even though she does not talk which he found comforting. She assisted well in everything like arranging the kitchen and washing of dishes. He made his complain to the bench on which he was sitting, outside the house.
Birds, different kind flew in the sky along the beach and Sam and the girl watched with interest. The beach was full of activity this morning with tourists going about the activities, newspaper sellers and fishers and surfers were busy. Sam and the girl excitedly hunted crab in the rocks near the bay. They got three crabs which they later prepared at the house and ate. Although the girl did not speak, he enjoyed her attention when he explained things to her, and he loved to see the way her little black eyes expressed so vividly her fear or her pleasure or her excitement.
Sam took the little girl out to shop. He bought some food stuff, and a pair of pink sandals for her. He spoke to the counting machine because it gave the wrong figure. The woman that operated the machine was angry because he would not talk to her but to the machine. She also knew him to be a wired man calling him bloody nutter (a person not mentally sound), and wondered who should have given him the little girl. The supervisor came and corrected the error on the machine and apologized to Sam. He paid for the items and left without talking to anyone except the machine and the little girl.
Isobel was at the supermarket. She finished up quickly and hurried after Sam and the girl. After she had called for a number of times, Sam stopped and turned round. She asked him what he meant at the scene of the dying man, about things not being right. Sam stared at something behind her without saying a word. Smiling, he turned round and urged the little girl that they must go now.
Isobel in her mother’s house speaks with Marion her old school friend. Marion asks Isobel why she stayed away for so long with no one knowing where she went. On invitation to supper, Isobel visited Marion and her husband Michael. They sat in the garden and talked about Isobel’s mother’s last moments, how she kept the house clean all alone, polite and kind to kids.
Isobel asked to know about Sam whom she described to Marion and Michael adding that she was intrigued by the little girl stared at her. They explain that Sam is a loner who has no relative and were surprised to hear that he was seen walking with a little girl, they felt that was strange. They explained where Sam lived which Isobel realised was the same house she always visited an old woman (Sam’s mother) when she was young. Isobel thanked Marion and Michael for the lunch when it was time for her to leave.
Sam’s mother was called Bethany. After the death of her husband she would look round for Sam only to finally find him playing in the sand down at the bottom of the steps. He always went down there where he considered was the country of his mother’s birth. Sam remembers this as they went down the steps with the girl in front, they were going out to fish. At the bottom of the steps they met Isobel who had been waiting at the beach for over an hour if she could see Sam and the girl immerge.
Isobel said her name and continued that she knew Sam’s mum. She told him how she always came round to take tea and how often Sam’s mother talked about him. Sam finds himself talking with Isobel and thought it strange. Sam and Isobel talked about his mother’s brevity, hard work and how she lived alone when Sam was away. He talked about how he missed her. His mother taught him everything he learnt. They talked as they walked along the beach to the boat.
Before she left, Isobel asked Sam if she could come to see the house again after so many years. They agreed she could come at four o’clock when Sam is back from his fishing already and the same time Isobel used to come.
Sam and the girl went fishing, the girl actively involved by putting the baited hook in the sea. It was an exciting outing for the two. Sam thought about the change occurring in his life. He now spoke less to his kitchen, fridge, the house and cooker which were the components of his life. The girl did not speak but he found his words always now directed to her, after all she understood him well, and he enjoyed telling her about everything. While the girl slept in the boat, Sam thought Isobel could help get dress for her. Sam liked the way Isobel spoke about his mother.
Isobel sat at the dining table going through old notes and letters she found in her mother’s box. She read letters her father wrote to her mother, how he expressed his love for her. She looked at photos her parents had together, her father in his army uniform; and she wondered what brought disintegration between her parents. When her father left the Army, they went to the village and started a postal service where the two of the worked.
Isobel remembers her father telling her how he had tried to keep the love between him and her mother. Her mother never told her anything about the situation, and she thought her mother might have been jealous of the way her father gave her a lot of attention. She also read the letter her wrote to her when he was leaving to stay with his sister and her husband in Australia. Her mother that was once a pretty woman who enjoyed going to dance with her husband is now fierce, rigid and silent.
At four o’clock, Isobel, Sam and the girl sat to eat lunch at Sam’s house. She listened to Sam narrating how the girl killed the fish by snapping its neck after unhooking it. The black cat was there too, eating what it was given. She looked at the house and felt it was clean, everything well-arranged and it was okay for Sam. Sam thanked her for coming to have tea with his mother, happy that his mother had someone to talk to.
When Isobel asked, Sam said he did not know the girls name. She never talked since he found her by the beach. He explained that he had tried to find anyone that knew her but there was none. Isobel confirmed that there had been no news anywhere about a missing girl. He told her how he pressed her chest and she spat water, suddenly rose and how she made him dance on the beach. Sam said he did not need to alert the police, the girl did not do any wrong. She could stay with him as long as she wanted. Moreover, she is happy. After some time of talking, Isobel left.
Isobel paid the charge for her mother’s death certificate which she took home. She assumed that the certificate was her mother brought home. She felt like to write to someone and get a reply to tell her where she should go from here. She did not know what to do next.
Sam and the little girl had worked hard on the farm. The girl passed bricks to Sam and also played with the cats and chickens in the yard excitedly. She always played freely with any animal available. Sam prepared to go fishing for the next day’s lunch advised her to get some sleep after eating. Sam picked his fishing items and walked down to the beach, the sun still bright. The first fish he caught was a dog fish which threw back in the water because he did not like it. After a little more try, he cut a bass which was what he wanted.
Now it was dark he could not see a think in a distance. He heard the voice of lady and when he called out Isobel responded. She had left the house to look at Sam’s house. Sam wondered what she was doing out on the beach at that strange time. He noticed she was cold and gave his coat to cover her while he asked her what she why she was there. She could not say much before she fainted. Sam quickly carried her to his house and laid her on his bed, covered her well and went to make some tea to warm her.
She had been at the beach before dark looking at the stones and liking the way she felt about everything. Suddenly she saw Sam coming down. She hid away and watched him. She kept admiring him not minding the covering darkness. When she fainted and Sam carried her, she regained consciousness in arms and remained silent because she liked it.
Quiet on the bed, Isobel listened to Sam’s movement in the kitchen. She lifted her body and looked round the house which was almost empty and peaceful. Sam talked to the cooker about what was happening in his life. He wondered how he now have two females in his house all found on the beach. His life has been far away from people but now he is changing. He did not have problem with the appearance of Isobel in his life because of what she made him realize about his mother’s lonely days. He was concerned with how to revive her.
Sam made some tea which he took to her. He sat at the edge of the bed to offer her the tea. She drank some resting on and elbow before she pleaded with Sam to let her stay through the night. he asked her again what she was doing at the beach at that time. She answered that she was watching him but she could not tell why. They both slept on the same bed till morning.
It was morning and the little girl left the house before anyone else was up. She went down to the beach to play in sand. She threw flat stones that skimmed across the surface of the sea and she laughed in pleasure. She looked at the birds in the sky, looked for morning worms, sometimes try to sound like the birds and it amused her. When she came back, tea was ready and Sam asked her to have some with some bread and butter. That is when she sees Isobel who asked if the little girl remembers her. Isobel speaks more with the girl, feeling like a family already. “he looks after us”, she says to the little girl “ I think he is the last good man on earth… and you and I are the only people in the world who know it
Sam tells isobel he would like her to take the girl out to get some befitting dress as he does not think he can do it well as a man. He tells Isobel that she is the only woman they know and Isobel was very happy to hear that and she laughed. “Oh God, I can’t tell you how I like that. You really have no idea how much I like being the only woman you know.” She offered to use her own money to buy dress for the little girl.
Not long after the talk, Isobel and the girl were prepared to out to shop. She said to sam on her way out, “I love you”. Sam goes out to do his work at the yard where he mixed sand and cement for building. As he works, he thinks about how a lot of things have changed about him with the coming of the two women into his life and he laughs “oh, this is a new Sam” he says to the mixer. He likes the change. He never thought of having a family but now that he feels like having one, he feels really happy. He laughs more and louder; also happy that he would no longer have night mares of his father appearing to him. To him, this is what his father wants for him.
Isobel should probably not have gone to her mother’s house to write her story and about Abelard and Heloise. She just felt her story was building up gradually with her experiences and thought to put something down. She takes the little girl to her friend, Marion, so she could play with Marion’s children instead sitting alone while Isobel writes. Isobel introduces the girl to Marion as Sam’s child. She enjoys her writing and does not hear the knock on the door until she finished writing.
When she opens the door, she sees Marion, the little girl, a police woman and some others. She is taken in a police car back to Sam’s house. She has not done her shopping yet and it bothered her while they should be taking her back.
Sam finishes his work for the day and walks happily back up the lane from the valley down behind him talking to the plants and animals along the way. He thinks about Isobel coming back soon with the girl and how he would build an additional room so the girl can have her own room.
As they came close, Sam appears by the road. The girl leaps out of the car and runs to Sam who picks her up to sit on his arm. The police woman walks up and asks Sam to identify the little girl. Sam avoids all the questions and walks toward the house. He got furious when he is blocked and bolts angrily, “get out of my way”. He runs up the cliff with the girl as the woman follows him asking him to give the girl up. Back home Sam is worried and angry. He picks his short rusted gun that had no cartridges in it, and threatens to shoot. The police woman and everyone around run back.
The little girl says she has to go soon even though she loves living with Sam. She likes making everything tidy for Sam who tells her lots of things. She feels really bad about what is about to happen to Sam. A man shouts through a loudhailer and the noise disturbs Sam.
The little girl says that Isobel who has escaped from the police car is standing at the lighthouse where she will jump and land on the rocks, about seventy miles down. Sam repositions himself as if to shoot the rusted shotgun. “a bullet is fired by one of the policemen,” and more bullets are fired towards Sam. The girl is up in the sky and can see everything below; Sam lying on the concrete by the wall. The growing joy in Sam’s life all suddenly disappears.
- The death of the tourist in the sea.
- The rescue of the little girl at the sea.
- Isobel’s return and meeting with Sam.
In discoursing theme, you need to answer certain questions associated with the theme.
- Poverty – Who are those in whose lives we can see poverty? How can you say they are poor, what are the evidences? How has the poverty of the identified people affected their lives and lives of other people around them?
- Loneliness – Who are the lonely people? What are the evidences of their loneliness? How has loneliness affected their lives and the lives of others around them?
- Death – Who are those that died? What possibly caused their death? How has their death affected other people? What is significant about death in the novel?
- Unhappiness – Who are the unhappy people? How can you say that they are unhappy?
- The discomfort of rural experience – How can you say that they live in a rural environment? How has it affected the lives of the people?
1,582 total views, 7 views today
Recent search terms:
- summary of the last good man by patience swift pdf
- characters in the last good man
- the last good man by patience swift
- summary of chapter one of the last goodman by patience swift
- summary of the last good man
- the last good man by patience swift pdf
- The last goodman pdf
- characters of the last good man
- test questions on the last good man by patience swift
- last Good man standing by patience swift