Patience Swift is the pseudonym of an author of The Last Good Man who lives in Cornwall. This is her first novel.
Textual Background of The Last Good Man Patience Swift
A man has lived on his own beside a wild, unforgiving coastline for many years. His companions are the birds, the land and the sea. From a choice made long ago, he keeps himself separate from the world of people, and he gains a fierce pleasure from his environment. His solitude is broken by his discovery, one early morning on the flat sands of a low tide, of the child washed up on the beach, but still alive. The Last Good Man is a novel of redemption, the story of a man experiencing our world as though for the first time. Patience Swift creates a powerful story set within the unforgettable landscapes of the Cornish Coastline.
This is about Sam a very lonely man who lives besides the sea up on the cliffs. He is a lovely gentle character who has lived in the house on the cliff since he was a child and continued to live there after the death of his parents. He loves nothing more than to listen to the sounds of the sea and watch the birds dipping and diving over the cliff down to the water below.
He is a simple man and invariable people tend to avoid him because he keeps himself but when he sees a man trapped by the turning tide he wishes that people would learn to understand the water the way he does. Sam loves fishing and always finds lots of interesting things to take back to his home. But he felt sorry for the two other main characters that only come into his life as the story line of the novel ( The Last Good Man By Patience Swift) went on, Isobel and a young child. It is a book filled with passion suspense and sensitivity for a loner, and yet the normal world which turns against this gentle.
He’loise which later motivated Isobel to write her own story about her life. Sam’s mother was also depressed when she lost her husband, likewise, Isobel’s mother was depressed when she was disserted by her husband and abandoned at the village by her daughter. This led to the ultimately death of the latter. Isobel’s father also died of depression in far away Australia. According to Isobel’s aunty, she said he died of Isobel’s selfishness and cruelty or her inability to forgive her father for abandoning her.
Theme in the novel titled The Last Good Man By Patience Swift
Loneliness: This is the major theme in the novel as it revolves around the major characters. The novel begins with Isobel who is ambivalent about life and this makes her alienate people. The loneliness she felt after being disserted by her father was one of the reasons she relocated to the town with her boyfriend. Her relocation further caused loneliness in the life of Isobel’s mother who had been abandoned by her father earlier.
Another lonely character in the novel (The last Good Man) is Sam who has been described even by the villagers as the loner. Sam remained lonely after his mother’s death and most of his life time he was lonely until he found a little girl at a sea shore washed over by the water wave. Even the man who came pawn and crab fishing accused him of having no relative when he found a little girl in Sam’s custody when they were playing at the great bay. Sam in the novel (The Last Good Man) is unaware and unconscious about things that are happening around him. His value and worth existed only in relation to the things about him with which he interacted with (birds and sea creatures).
The last person Sam had cared about was his mother, with whom he had lived in the house with at the last Year of her life. It been ten years after she died of stroke and was absorbed into the surroundings and the elements of his life: Sam’s lonely life was broken by the appearance of first; the little girl and secondly, Isobel both on the sea at a place where they ought not to have been.
These two people had in their own ways merged into his life without friction: the girl through her natural ease and obvious pleasure she took from being with Sam and Isobel from the extraordinary connection which she brought with her to Sam’s mother.
Isobel broke Sam’s loneliness through presenting him images which he could never have possessed himself by almost closing circles which had been left open by the unexpected death of his mother ten years ago and old Sam could not avert his life from them. There was in fact, a new perception to old Sam’s life as the little girl’s silent companionship has signaled the end of Sam’s own isolation and the love showed to him by Isobel. Sam thought was a new beginning of life, an end indeed he thought to be a lonely life for a man.
Characters In The Last Good Man By Patience Swift
There are two major characters in the novel (The last Good man) that is Sam and Isobel and the plot centres around them. Other characters are nameless such as the little girl, Isobel’s mother and father, Sam’s father, all of whom are secondary characters in the novel.
Sam: He is also known as Old Sam. He is a huge man and lives in the hill in a village which had been built by his great grandfather in the late nineteenth century. Sam was an entrepreneurial man who had carried stone and mortar, lead and copper, pipes and glass over the brow of the head land from the village to build a house on the cliffs overlooking the great bay which could host and oil burning light to warn ships off the reefs. Sam lost his father when he was four years old when he got lost at the sea hurled with gigantic force from the prow of the village life boat by a towering wave half a mile out to sea from the head land.
Sam is an introvert, a loner, and an isolated character in the novel whom at the beginning of the novel (the last good man) had no relationship with anyone. He is described as a bit of a fighter when he was younger. He is nicknamed ‘bogeyman’ by Marion and Isobel. He was a well tutored child and had drifted away from people and quietly lived amongst the elements of the world. Sam has at certain time forgot about love until the little girl and Isobel came came into his life. His generosity and kindness to the little girl and Isobel made Isobel to describe him as “the last good man on earth”. His death is unprecedented at the end of the novel making the novel to have a tragic end.
Isobel: Isobel unlike to Sam was an extrovert, out spoken and relates freely with people. She is a middle age young woman who left the house when she was twenty-five because she has misunderstanding with her mother and did not come back home until after the death of her mother. She was abandoned alongside with her mother Bethany by her father who later died in far away Australia.
Isobel grew up in a tourist village along with her mother. She is kind and compassionate as many people in the city where she lives depended on her ans her kindness made her end up working in the hospital. She is a person who who offers goodwill to people and as result, she took off with a boy she had been seeing at night time down the light house on the headland when she was halfway through her A-level course at the local school. She fell in love with Old Sam and the little girl. Isobel was able to penetrate through Sam’s inner mind and made him to leave his isolated world and interact with people around him. Unfortunately, her dreams were cut short by the untimely death of Sam.
Marion: Marion is Isobel’s old school and childhood friend who lived opposite Isobel’s parent’s house in the village. Marion was the dreamy teenager who accompany Isobel on some of the illicit moonlight walks to the light house with boys. She is married to a local fisher man called Michael and they have three children. Marion, together with her husband advised Isobel to get to know Sam. Marion who had suspected Sam after seeing him with the little girl brought the police officers into the scene as they tried to know the identity of the little girl.