Updated: May 5, 2022
Samuel "Sam" Abramov is the protagonist and narrator of our graphic novel and the player-protagonist of our upcoming indie game/visual novel, "Sam in New York."
Born on April 6, 1901 in the Lower East Side of New York City, Sam grew up in the shadow of his domineering parents, who had immigrated in the late 1890s from Odessa, Ukraine (then a part of the Russian Empire).
Cheerful, mischievous, and blessed with the gift of gab, Sam grows up idolizing Vaudeville and Yiddish theatre.
A bright student, he is eventually accepted into Ambrose College, a prestigious New York law school, where for the first time in his life, he feels like a fish out of water.
Sam must eventually decide whether to become a lawyer, an actor, or something else...
Links to our graphic novels about Sam are on this page. Our main project currently is the graphic novel version of "Sam in New York."
Throughout the course of the visual novel, Sam can also pursue various love interests and friendships, which can deeply influence his career choices (and vice versa, to some extent).
Learn more about him in these podcasts:
Themes in Sam's Story:
Parental-child relationship - Sam's relationship with his parents isn't always so peachy, to say the least. They are demanding and expect the best of him at all times, which stresses him out to no end. At the same time, Sam deeply loves his parents. They can be very loving when they're not criticizing him and furthermore, they are his only family in the United States.
Finding a purpose in life: Sam feels frustrated at the beginning of the visual novel because he does not feel law school is for him. He fundamentally can't see himself as a lawyer, but he also isn't sure what he really wants in life. All he knows is that he loves the theatre. He sees acting as a way of "reinventing [himself] over and over and over again." Through playing a variety of different roles - cowboy, clown, revolutionary, artist, etc. - Sam feels free. He feels that being a lawyer is not only boring, but will also stifle his creativity.
Ethnic Identity- As the child of Yiddish-speaking, atheist, Ukrainian-Jewish immigrants, Sam is an ethno-religious minority at his university. He was not a minority at his high school, which was located in an immigrant neighbourhood. Growing up, his friends were mostly Jewish and/or Italian first and second-generation immigrants, and he had little exposure to upper middle-class Anglo-American culture. Throughout the course of the visual novel, Sam will have to deal with assimilation (into mainstream American culture). One of the reasons Sam may choose to change his last name to "Ramey" is because of his desire (in some of the routes, depending on your choices) to assimilate. In other routes, Sam rejects assimilation, finding it oppressive and hypocritical (in his words, if Americans prize individualism so much, then why is assimilation pushed? By forcing immigrants to assimilate and forget their mother tongues and cultures, isn't that against the spirit of individualism?)
Sam's Family and Friends:
Lev and Raisa Abramov: his overly-demanding and over-protective parents, who, in Sam's own words, "suck the joy out of everything." They are prone to criticizing not only his marks, but also his choice of friends, posture (i.e. Sam slouching is a sign that he "lacks confidence" according to his parents), lifestyle choices (i.e.. coming home too late is a sign he is "straying off the proper path" and eating too much pastrami is a sign he "doesn't care about health and wants to die early"). More than anything, Lev and Raisa just want to see their son happy, successful, and healthy. Their hearts are in a good place, but the way they express their concern for their son can be...over-the-top, to say the least.
Harvey Feingold: An grandfatherly figure to Sam. Harvey is a lively 60 and the owner of Sam's favourite restaurant, "Feingold's Deli." Harvey has a tendency to be blunt, but he deeply care about Sam and hopes he can find a career he truly enjoys.
Francesco "Frankie" Amato: An old friend of Sam's from middle school. Frankie's father is the owner of a grocery and a cafe, both of which Sam often visit. Serious, observant and pragmatic, Frankie is a foil to Sam.
Joel Farber: Another old friend of Sam's from middle school. Joel is studying to become an accountant. He is sarcastic, easily offended and likes to argue with people. However, he can be a bit socially awkward. He hopes some of Sam and Frankie's social skills can rub off on him.
Yekaterina "Katya" Luneva: A factory worker Sam meets by chance outside of "Feingold's Deli." Quiet and determined with a spine of steel, there is more to her than meets the eye.
Lina Williams: A young woman Sam meets when he goes to a speakeasy for the first time. Energetic, eccentric, and artistic, she encourages Sam to pursue his artistic inclinations. Her parents are wealthy and well-connected and she hails from the Upper East Side.
Thomas Melbourne: A fellow student at Sam's law school who is the captain of the football team and appears to be a friendly but (at least initially) bland and uninteresting "goody-two-shoes." Sam can either befriend, ignore, or antagonize him.
Benjamin Cox: The Dean of the Faculty of Law of Ambrose College (Sam's law school), Dean Cox is responsible for counselling students who have failed law courses and assigning them summer courses and make-up exams to help them graduate on time, if possible. Sam first came into contact with Dean Cox when he failed three of his first year courses and immediately butts heads with him. Dean Cox is well-meaning, but he is also arrogant with a tendency to moralize. Furthermore, his subtle bias against immigrants often angers Sam.
Other Facts About Sam:
English: mother tongue
Yiddish: mother tongue - specifically, he speaks with a Litvak accent, since his parents are of Litvak extraction.
Russian: only a few basic words and phrases since his parents speak Yiddish (and some English) at home, not Russian
Aries, since he's born April 6, 1901
Year of the Metal Ox
Day Master: Jia (Yang) Wood
Favorite Subject in High School:
Height: 171 cm