My Brother Sam is Dead

by: Christopher Collier & James Lincoln Collier

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

"Stop complaining," I said. "I have to do this every night while you're down at Yale scoring telling points and getting drunk with those girls." "You know I wouldn't do anything like that, Tim. Drunkenness is a sin." I giggled. "So is—what's that word for girls? Lasviciousness?" "Lasciviousness, stupid, not lasviciousness. I have a new song about girls, but it's too lasvicious for you."

This dialogue is a prime example of the dynamic between Sam and Tim. Both boys have heard many times from their parents that certain behavior should be avoided as sinful, and their ability to laugh about this shows their similar view of the use of religion. Tim's recollection of his brother's college stories show how avidly he listens when Sam speaks. Tim's giggle betrays the pleasure he takes in hearing that Sam does things of which their parents would not approve. Tim's stumble over the word "lasciviousness" demonstrates his own youth and inexperience in contrast with his brother. Sam's humoring of this mispronunciation and withholding of the song shows his relative power over his brother, his ability to dispense information at his desire to a listener who will no doubt find it fascinating.