Samuel Hamilton

Samuel Hamilton, a transplant from Northern Ireland, arrived in the Salinas Valley around 1870. Samuel settled on dry, rocky soil and could never build a successful farm. Thanks to his ingenuity and diligent character, he managed to support his wife and nine children. However, more important than financial well-being, Samuel Hamilton is respected and admired. He has a strong and inquisitive mind, and he loves to read. He even buys a copy of William James' Principles of Psychology behind his wife - strange for an Irish immigrant farmer at the turn of the 20th century. While Samuel could never get water on his farm, he has a special gift to find water in the valley. Samuel meets Lee and Adam Trask when Lee comes to look to see if he can find water on the old Sanchez ranch bought by Adam. He finds water with a special forked core, which he calls his "magic wand" (165). When Adam asks how the pen works, Samuel explains it this way: "I really do not believe it [...] maybe it is, maybe I know where the water is, and some have a gift in one direction or another. Suppose now, call it modesty or a deep distrust in yourself, it made me magically bring it to the surface. Samuel's sensitive and intuitive character allows him to perceive both the natural phenomenon and the subtle psychology of the human mind. He sees the same tendencies in Lee, the servant of Adam and so much for him. He admits the inhumanity of Cathy and is very saddened by her. He also immediately sees mistakes in Adam's worship of his wife and an unattainable dream of creating a garden. He also knows how much damage Adam is inflicting on his sons after he fell into a desperate numbness after Katie left him. Samuel twice saves the sons of Adam, bringing them into the world. Although Samuel dies during half of the novel, he remains an important influence throughout his life. Even Kate remembers how much influence Samuel had on her. His presence echoes with the end of the novel, when Adam blesses Cal with the word "timshel," as this explanation of Lee's this term and the subsequent glory of the apparent freedom of man in practice choose the first place.

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Samuel Hamilton in the Essays