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My Brother Sam is Dead

Christopher Collier & James Lincoln Collier

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full title ·  My Brother Sam is Dead

authors ·  James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

type of work ·  Young adult novel

genre ·  Wartime fiction, coming-of-age novel

language ·  English

time and place written ·  Early 1970s, United States

date of first publication ·  1974

publisher ·  Scholastic, Inc.

narrator ·  Tim Meeker

point of view ·  The narrator speaks in the first person, noting his observations of the war and his brother's involvement

tone ·  Matter-of-fact; conversational; sometimes childish

tense ·  Past

setting (time) ·  1775–1779; epilogue, 1826

setting (place) ·  Redding, Connecticut and nearby areas

protagonist ·  Tim Meeker is the narrator and the person whose actions and growth we follow most closely throughout the novel, although his observations and concerns are very often centered on his older brother, Sam

major conflict ·  Tim struggles to understand the war and define his own set of opinions based on the opinions of his father and brother

rising action ·  Sam joins the Rebel forces; Tim is left alone to drive the cart home from Verplancks; the British attack Redding; Tim realizes that Sam is fighting for the wrong reasons

climax ·  Tim realizes the certainty of Sam's execution and runs out with his late father's bayonet, hoping somehow to stop it. The climax is actually a moment of quiet and defeat in Tim's life, for he realizes that he cannot kill other men, and that his efforts to save his brother are futile

falling action ·  Tim resigns himself to attend his brother's public death with the understanding that he cannot save Sam

themes ·  The illusion of glory; the degeneration of values during war; the clashing influence of father and brother

motifs ·  Foretelling death; weather

symbols ·  Telling points; Betsy Read

foreshadowing ·  Foreshadowing occurs three times when characters make warnings about situations that eventually play a part in that characters' own death. Sam claims that a person should die for his cause; Sam warns Tim of cattle thieves and notes that General Putnam may hang the next person he catches; Father warns Tim about prison ships and the circulation of cholera

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