How Late it Was

by arielyoung

Ariel Young
How Late it was How Late tells the story of Sammy a poor, out of work Scotsman who, after a fight with his girlfriend and a weekend of heavy drinking he ends up getting into a fight with some policemen and loses his vision. His inner thoughts are revealed as the reader follows him after his arrest and up until his decision to run away to England where he hopes to gain more control of his life. How Late it was How Late effectively invites the reader into the mind of a type of character who gets little voice. Sammy, throughout his entire life has never had any real power over his situation, “it had happened; they had fucking closed in. He was beat. They had beat him.” (75) because of his poverty he has little respect for police and authority because he sees them as a threat to himself. At the same time, he is not able to pull himself out of poverty because of his own paranoia and quick temper. He’s quick to lash out against even those attempting to assist him to try and regain his power, “That’s what happens but ye get angry for nay reason; yer heart starts pounding away and ye’re wanting to bang the bastard.” (209) How Late it was How Late also explores an uncertain type of hope. Sammy, quick to get depressed, “it was gony get worse, afore it got better,” (133) he still holds on to his optimism, “When he walked out of here the head was gony be held high, he was gony be cleanshaven man, fresh and fucking brand new, clean socks and fucking Christ almighty he was gony stick on one of these new bastard shirts. He was proud. He was fucking proud.” (324) Despite his situation with the police, his unemployment and his own blindness he still believes perhaps he can make life better by leaving Glasgow. It is likely however that this hope will come to no fruition as Sammy changes in no way, other than his sight. He remains quick to anger and paranoid. This story is a story of real life. Sometimes things don’t change. It depicts a real person and his real struggles.


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