Sam Patch

8 August 2016

The history behind Sam Patch is nothing out of the ordinary; he grew up in a mostly small mill town in Rhode Island where he was caught in a cycle of families working in the mills when they got older. He was destined for a poverty stricken mill workers life. Sam and his friends enjoy being daredevils though and would jump off bridges in their hometown for fun. That’s where Sam discovered his way out. He started his career of jumping off things by jumping off a bridge in Paterson, New Jersey in protest of a new bridge through a forest area. This is where the buzz of Sam Patch came alive and from that point on his glory and fame kept growing.

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The author’s underlying meaning of the book to me was how social structures influence us to be a certain way. Sam Patch was supposed to be a mill worker but instead he decided he wanted to jump from very high areas into water. A lot of people at this time were just like him in the way that they were born into their life and struggled to make it better for them. Sam Patch gave them hope that they could make their life whatever they wanted it to be. I think the author chose Sam Patch as the subject of his book because Sam was a symbol for people who where caught in the same cycle he was caught in growing up.

He was an idol for impoverished towns and people. They looked up to him and appreciated his help by publicizing issues involving populations that couldn’t stand up for them because they were too poor. I think Sam chose to jump off things because he grew up jumping off things with his friends and learned he could gain fame and fortune from it. He pursued it because it was also a hobby of his that he enjoyed doing. He was one of those people that enjoyed taking risks and living on the edge. Sam Patch was loved by many but also thought of as a threat to some.

The people who saw him as a threat were the upper class people because he was trying to bring the lower level people out of poverty. By helping them so much it hurt the upper class people because now the mills they owned or the bridges they needed to be built weren’t being built in protest. The upper class thought he would threaten their business and the economy in a way. Democracy was shown in this book through the protest and the settling of the protests. In a non-democratic government you wouldn’t be allowed to protest openly. Industrialization was shown through the development of the middle class.

The book Sam Patch was very effective for me because it helped me see the information and problems more clearly. Especially when it came from the perspective of someone who was suffering of poverty at that time. I came to see Sam Patch as a symbol by the end of the book for the lower class people. He was a symbol of hope for towns that previously didn’t have any. Sam Patch helped tremendously by jumping off things. It might seem silly what he is doing and some people may ask how it helps anything, but it gave people hope, which is the best thing you could give anybody.

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