My Brother Sam Is Dead: An Analysis

Topics: James Lincoln Collier, My Brother Sam Is Dead, Christopher Collier Pages: 2 (830 words) Published: October 29, 2013
Jimmy McPerson
Mr. Teacher
AP US History
14 August 2013
My Brother Sam is Dead Analysis
In the novel My Brother Sam is Dead, written by Christopher Collier and James Lincoln Collier, a headstrong lad by the name of Sam Meekers joins in the rebel cause in the Civil War much to his fathers chagrin. Tim Meekers, Sam’s younger brother, struggles to come to terms with himself and to firmly grasp his own point of view on the war throughout the novel. The novel focuses on Tim, a young boy trying to fit into a world where war is occurring and conflict is all around him. In a world of picking between two sides Tim is stuck in the middle of a family torn by different viewpoints. The main points Tim struggles with are his father and brother’s clashing viewpoints on the war, the lack of moral values during the war, and the apparition of glory.

Tim’s father and brother both have different views on the war, Sam being a rebel and his father supporting the British. With the experienced, and persuasive influence of Tim’s father working on one half of Tim’s head and the passionate, stead-fast influence of Sam working on the other, Tim spends the majority of this book trying to realize their points of view and to find his own point of view through them. The Verplancks trip is so important because it shows the thought process Tim goes through when he is completely alone, away from these two strong influences. Alone, he considers which person would handle the situation in what way, and how he as his own man should handle it. Tim struggles to find a balance between the heroic, glorified actions of his brother and the calm, thought out decisions of his father.

Another point Tim struggles with is the lack of morals that either side show throughout the war. Tim’s mother repeats many times how war turns men into savages. She says this, for example, when she is notified of Jerry Sanford's death. Also, when she hears of Sam himself stealing cows to feed himself and his men. She...
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