My Brother Sam Is Dead

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War. It divides to conquer? Ending in triumph, or does it leave us broken? Who’s to say, it can do both. It all depends on the war itself. War is about principles. It can be used to end injustice, tyranny, or both. It can band people together to form a bond that is unbreakable, all fighting for the same cause. But that bond can have a high price. War kills soldiers, tearing them from family; it kills innocent people, just trying to survive. People are brutal, whether it be a harsh commander with deathly penalties, or even a rude soldier, demanding supplies or a roof from a civilian. Many think war is not the only way, there can be a peaceful solution. Two such people are the authors of My Brother Sam is Dead, James and Christopher Collier. They show this belief through the life of Tim Meeker, who struggles to decide who to side with, his brother, Sam, or his father. The ironic and horrible deaths of Jerry, Ned, and his own brother, Sam, eventually force Tim to choose neutrality.

Jerry’s death is the first show of brutality to push Tim’s decision. Not only is Jerry Tim’s best friend, but the way he died, even after he died, was unforgivable. Jerry was taken to a prison ship, where he died within three weeks of sickness. Instead of taking back the
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The Patriots say they are fighting for freedom and justice, but that freedom doesn’t include blacks like Ned. Hardly fair. But Patriots aren’t the only skin-specific people. The Loyalists killed a room of slaves, just because of their status. “‘There are some damned blacks in here, what shall we do with them?’ ‘Kill them,’” (144). Poor Ned was stabbed in the gut, then on top of it all, decapitated. Ned was neutral, so there was no sound reason for him to be killed. This shows that both sides were unjust, with the Loyalists killing and the Patriots excluding black people. Tim was horrified by Ned’s uncalled for decollation, and his current-Toriness was propelled out, along with his
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