I am supposed to imagine I am Sam Hobson at the end of "The Son's Veto" by Hardy. How would I write my thoughts as Sam?

Expert Answers
Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To write an empathetic account of Sam's thoughts as Sophy rolls by, forever out of his reach, you need to focus on the last information we have about his suit for Sophy's hand. You might also want to focus on the quarrel they had when they were young that led to Sophy's being free to accept Twycott's marriage proposal. The last thing we know about Sam and Sophy's conversations occurs after another "four or five long years" has past when he approaches Sophy yet again in all earnestness "with some peremptoriness":

thus the gentle creature [Sophy] reasoned and pleaded till four or five long years had passed. Then the faithful Sam revived his suit with some peremptoriness. Sophy's son, ... [was soon to be] ordained, she argued, ... [and she] would be an encumbrance to him. [...] taking her before a little cross and altar ... [Randolph] bade her kneel, and swear that she would not wed Samuel Hobson ....

Another four years years pass by during which Sophy mummers "Why mayn't I say to Sam that I'll marry him? Why mayn't I?" Then we see "the mourning coach" roll past Sam, hat in hand. He may be thinking of that long ago quarrel of which we know so little:

'Sam Hobson has asked me to marry him, sir.'
'Well--do you want to marry?'
'Not much. ....'
.... 'I don't want to leave just yet, sir, if you don't wish it. Sam and I have quarrelled.'

We do know Sophy didn't approve of Sam's manners as she scolds him on the night Mrs. Twycott dies: "'No, Sam; you sha'n't!' she cried, putting her hand over his mouth. 'You ought to be more serious on such a night as this.'" Perhaps Sam made demands of Sophy about her agreeableness after their engagement. Perhaps Sophy made demands of Sam about his behavior. Perhaps they couldn't agree about how they would set up housekeeping. Whatever it was, it made Sophy change her mind from "Not much" to not at all.

With this background and with the more recent events:

  • Sam might be regretting their long ago quarrel and blaming himself for his youth and foolishness.
  • Sam might be dreaming of the other event that might have occurred, with him in his black suit but while standing before a priest with Sophy in a brilliant gown, and with his store closed on a work day.
  • Sam might be thinking about what might have occurred in life for him and Sophy, without the accident that led to her wedding and her crippled state.
  • Sam might be thinking about what he might have done differently to help Sophy assert her rights before Randolph.
  • Sam might be thinking that Sophy unquestionably loved Randolph more than she loved him.
  • Sam might be thinking that Sophy honored her late husband's memory more than she loved him.
  • Sam might be thinking about how weak Sophy was, lame in both foot and courage. 
  • Sam might be thinking about how empty life in the grocer shop will be.
  • Sam might be thinking about never finding another like Sophy after all these years of weakness and waiting and loving.

To write your assignment, use first person "I / me / my / mine" sentences and speak for Sam. Choose what you suppose he is thinking about and speak his thoughts for him. The list of suggestions above might spur some thoughts. The last moments he had with Sophy and the pivotal early moments he had with her will be part of his thoughts and part of what you speak about. Example: I always thought I would be standing here in pride on my wedding day, having won my Sophy at last. I freeze when my thoughts turn to the ill-fated youthful quarrel that lost her to me ... forever.