English 8, Period 6
6 November 2013
The Wrong Choice
"Either you live up to your principles or you don’t and maybe you have to take a chance on getting killed” (34-35). Staying in the army or leaving one’s post was one of the many hard decisions soldiers had to make in the army. We see this decision take place in the historical fiction novel My Brother Sam Is Dead, written by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier. To begin with, Sam, Tim Meeker’s brother and mentor, decides to fight as a Patriot in the Revolutionary War. Sam’s decision causes a huge dilemma in the Meeker household because the family is Loyalists. Loyalists were the people who stayed loyal to the British king, whereas the Patriots wanted to break away from the King. Several months after Father got kidnapped by cowboys, Tim and his mother find out Father has been killed. Around the same time, Sam's enlistment term starts coming to an end, which means he has to decide whether or not to do another term. After many arguments with his mother, Sam decides to re-enlist in the war. In the end, due to historical accounts and the novel, Sam should have quit once his term was over because the troops experienced horrible conditions and he had many possibilities of dying. First off, Sam should not re-enlist because the troops experienced horrible conditions. In fact, in the “Diary of Dr. Albigence Waldo”, he writes in his log dated December 14, 1777, “ Poor food- hard lodging- Cold Weather- fatigue- Nasty Cloathes- nasty Cookery- Vomit half my
time- smoak’d out of my senses…” Waldo’s point is that everything in the camp is horrendous. By highlighting this point, Dr. Albiegence gives a realistic image of how camp would have been, giving the reader a reason to believe that Sam should not have re-enlisted. In addition, Sam shows the dreadful conditions of camp when he exclaims in a letter, “He was living a hard life… very short rations, eating just...
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