Neutrality In 'My Brother Sam Is Dead'

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War is a conflictive topic because it can be both positive and negative depending on the situation. For example, during the American Revolution, Americans fought a war with Great Britain to gain their independence and freedom. On the other hand, many innocent people were killed because the dead pay the living’s debts. In the novel My Brother Sam is Dead, Tim has to make a decision about which side he believes is right, leaving him caught between his brother and his father. However, in the end, Tim chooses neutrality based on the injustices of Jerry, Sam, and Life’s deaths. The brutality that Tim’s best friend, Jerry Sanford, faced induces Tim to become neutral throughout the war. Jerry was captured by British troops and later died of sickness on one of the prison ships: “ ‘They sunk his body in Long Island Sound in a…show more content…
Sam was unrightfully accused and was punished for the crime he did not commit:“ ‘It’s just so unfair, he fought for them for three years, and now they’re going to shoot him for nothing’ ”(200). Sam had portrayed a glorious image of war to Tim, and after his death, Tim saw through the facade. General Putnam showed no empathy for Sam and executes him to keep his soldiers in line because “one man’s agony is like another’s, one mother’s tears are no wetter than anyone else’s” (194). The Patriot’s needed to be kept in line, and executing Sam as an example seemed like the best idea to the general. Tim sees his brother, who gave up his everything to enlist, be killed by the soldiers he had fought alongside for three years. The allegation against Sam saying that he stole his own cattle made no sense to Tim, but it showed him that war is not fair. Tim saw how ruthless war could make men, causing them to be power hungry and kill to keep their ego strong. The Patriots were no exception to war’s dominant power, and after Sam’s death, Tim leaned towards
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