Breaking Night

by

Liz Murray

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Samantha / Sam Character Analysis

Sam is probably Liz’s best friend, and certainly one of the most important people in her life. The two girls meet in middle school, where Sam is a popular student and Liz is new and shy. Sam takes Liz under her wing, and from then on, they’re inseparable. Like Liz, Sam is hardworking, energetic, and ambitious, and the two friends often discuss moving out of New York and traveling across the country together. But Sam is also surprisingly tender and vulnerable beneath her confident façade, a quality that seems to endear her to Liz. For many months, Sam and Liz live together with Carlos Marcano; however, they become separated as Carlos’s behavior becomes increasingly irrational. Liz sees relatively little of Sam after she enrolls in the Humanities Preparatory Academy. In part, this is because Liz wants to focus on her studies, and Sam, whether or not she’s a good friend, has often distracted Liz from school. At the end of her memoir, however, Liz reports that Sam is happily married and that the two of them are still good friends.

Samantha / Sam Quotes in Breaking Night

The Breaking Night quotes below are all either spoken by Samantha / Sam or refer to Samantha / Sam. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Willpower and Independence Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Hachette Books edition of Breaking Night published in 2011.
Chapter 5 Quotes

At night, under my bed, sometimes I could hear her crying softly. But whenever I asked her what was wrong, she'd brush it off, say it was just her allergies or that I was hearing things. But I knew better. Sometimes, when she snored in her sleep—a cute little whistle—I'd reach down and touch a piece of her hair, run it through my fingers, stare at how, in the darkness of our room, the moonlight turned it glossy as polished onyx. I will keep her safe, I told myself.

Related Characters: Elizabeth “Liz” Murray (speaker), Samantha / Sam
Page Number: 155
Explanation and Analysis:

"Liz, shut up," she answered. "You know I love your white ass, don't even sweat it."

Related Characters: Samantha / Sam (speaker), Elizabeth “Liz” Murray
Page Number: 161
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

"Okay, just one more thing," I told her. "Hold on." I slid a chair over to reach the top shelf of my closet, where I'd hidden Ma's NA coin and that one photo of her, the black-and-white one from when she was a teenager, living on the streets. Opening my journal, I slipped the picture carefully inside and snapped the book shut.
"Now I can go," I said. "Let's just go."

Related Symbols: The Photograph of Ma
Page Number: 183
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

In the center of the foil, ever so faint and small, I found tiny specks of white powder.
"Sam! Sam."
"Yeah."
"Don't flush. Be quiet and look at this. . . . He's on coke."

Related Characters: Elizabeth “Liz” Murray (speaker), Samantha / Sam (speaker), Carlos Marcano
Page Number: 224
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Breaking Night LitChart as a printable PDF.
Breaking Night PDF

Samantha / Sam Character Timeline in Breaking Night

The timeline below shows where the character Samantha / Sam appears in Breaking Night. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5: Stuck
Willpower and Independence Theme Icon
Sex and Power Theme Icon
...been together since the sixth grade. Liz is an outsider. However, a Latina girl named Samantha and her friend, Bobby, are nice to her. Over the next few weeks, Samantha, or... (full context)
Willpower and Independence Theme Icon
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Sex and Power Theme Icon
Sam introduces Liz to MTV: they watch footage of Kurt Cobain, and Liz gradually becomes more... (full context)
Willpower and Independence Theme Icon
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...has no idea what to say. Instead, she spends more time away from home, with Sam and Bobby. She also stops going to school, but manages to erase any voicemails from... (full context)
Willpower and Independence Theme Icon
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Liz learns that Daddy is going to lose his apartment. Liz and Sam go to the apartment, looking to retrieve some of Liz’s old things. Liz is ashamed... (full context)
Willpower and Independence Theme Icon
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Liz and Sam arrive at the apartment, only to find that it’s been boarded up. She wonders where... (full context)
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...friends, including a girl named Jamie, at whose house she sometimes crashes. She, Bobby, and Sam perform a strange “experiment”—they microwave a light bulb, and learn that this results in an... (full context)
Chapter 6: Boys
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Sam and Liz make a new friend: a boy named Carlos Marcano. Carlos is handsome and... (full context)
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Soon after Liz starts dating Carlos, Sam starts dating a twenty-year-old named Oscar. Carlos talks about inheriting money after his mother dies,... (full context)
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One night, after Brick yells at Sam for sleeping over with Liz, Liz and Sam decide to leave their homes for good.... (full context)
Chapter 7: Breaking Night
Willpower and Independence Theme Icon
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Immediately after the events of the last chapter, Sam and Liz walk down Bedford Park Boulevard late at night. They spend their first night... (full context)
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The next morning, Liz and Sam go to Bobby’s house. Bobby lets them inside and tells them to be out by... (full context)
Willpower and Independence Theme Icon
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Liz and Sam spend their nights in the Village (a neighborhood in Manhattan). Sometimes they steal food from... (full context)
Willpower and Independence Theme Icon
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Liz and Sam spend time in the New York Public Library, and Liz enjoys reading the books. She... (full context)
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...She also begins to worry when Carlos spends longer amounts of time away from her. Sam advises her to give Carlos some space. Liz begins to worry that, without Carlos, she... (full context)
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...new clothes, and he has a lot of money. He orders food for Liz and Sam, and kisses Liz as Liz chews her meal. “The taste,” Liz writes, “mingled uncomfortably with... (full context)
Chapter 8: The Motels
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Liz, Sam, and Carlos leave the city and check into a motel. The weather is getting cold,... (full context)
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...to clear his head after collecting his father’s inheritance. He promises that he, Liz, and Sam will get an apartment soon, and shows Liz a newspaper on which he’s scrawled some... (full context)
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...three friends go out for a night on the town, and Carlos charms Liz and Sam by ordering them expensive food from a local dim sum restaurant. Late at night, Sam... (full context)
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Carlos, Liz, and Sam go to a nearby café. As they eat, Liz notices her own grandmother walk into... (full context)
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For the next three weeks, Liz puts off visiting Ma again. She, Carlos, and Sam stay in a hotel while they look for an apartment. One day, Carlos doesn’t come... (full context)
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The next day, Sam and Liz wake up early to the sound of Carlos entering the room. Carlos greets... (full context)
Chapter 10: The Wall
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Liz, Carlos, and Sam celebrate New Year’s Eve together. The next day—the first day of 1997—Carlos disappears. Afraid that... (full context)
Willpower and Independence Theme Icon
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Drugs and Addiction Theme Icon
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...drive to their new home, a “crash place” motel. Liz suggests that they pick up Sam, but Carlos, who appears to be high on cocaine, claims that he’ll get Sam later.... (full context)
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...She spends the next few days staying with Jamie. During this time, she learns that Sam has been staying at a “group home” in the Bronx. Liz next goes to stay... (full context)
Chapter 11: The Visit(or)
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One day in August, Liz runs into Sam on the subway by accident. The two friends hug tearfully, and Liz notices that Sam... (full context)
Epilogue
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Today, Sam is happily married and living in Wisconsin. Lisa is a college graduate and works as... (full context)