Study Guide

Sam in Seedfolks

By Paul Fleischman


If Sam could have one wish granted, we're pretty sure he'd pick world peace. You see, Sam is a seventy-eight year old Jewish man who just wants everyone to get along. He's spent his whole life doing jobs to bring people together, and now he wants to make some cross-cultural friendships happen in the Cleveland community garden, too.

This means Sam is a pretty busy guy as he tries to help out wherever he can. He even organizes a contest for the neighborhood kids to figure out how they can collect water for the garden's plants. Take a look at the job description Sam gives us:

You've seen fishermen mending the rips in their nets. That's what I do, only with people. I used to try to patch up the whole world. For thirty-six years I worked for different groups, promoting world government, setting up conferences on pacifism, raising money, stuffing envelopes. Not that I've given up the fight. I've just switched battlefields, from the entire planet to this corner of Cleveland. Sometimes I think I've actually had more effect on the world since retired." (6.2)

Sheesh, Sam sure has had a packed life. And now he's bringing all of his peace-making experience to the Gibb Street community garden. What do you think of the metaphors Sam gives us when he talks about his job? He compares himself to "fishermen," yet he also talks about being on "battlefields." Sounds to us like Sam is a mender and a fighter all in one.