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My Brother Sam Is Dead: Essential Understandings

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nik patel

on 10 March 2014

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Transcript of My Brother Sam Is Dead: Essential Understandings

The Enlightenment was a period of time when people focused on reason and own-decision making instead of following tradition.
Sam shows this many times throughout the novel. An example is:
'"Sir, it's worth dying to be free."
...."Free? Free to do what, Sam? Free to mock your King? To shoot your neighbor? To make a mess of thousands of lives? Where have you been getting these ideas?"
"You don't understand, Father, you just don't understand. If they won't let us be free, we have to fight. Why should they get rich off our taxes in England? They're 3000 miles away, how can they make laws for us? They have no idea of how things are here."'
This clearly shows that Sam's rebelliousness and patriotism. Most people, would have let the King make rules for other places because he was the King. However, during this Enlightenment, Sam is making his own decisions and speaking his own thoughts, which goes against tradition.
An event in human history that goes with this
ideas is the Civil Rights Movement, which included Martin Luther King Jr. He, like Sam, spoke his thoughts and did not care about what other people thought of him. He was also willing to die for his beliefs and believed in equality for all, just like Sam.

The Enlightenment Was the Driving Force Behind Sam
Typically, most people choose their sides based on beliefs and ideas of their families. Sometimes it is easy making the decision and other times it is not. This is why most people listen to the ideas of older family members and take their beliefs as their own.
Tim had to make an important decision throughout this novel. A decision which took him years of thinking. This ultimate decision is what side he would be on. He gets asked this question many times.
I couldn't answer. Sam made it seem that he was right and Father was wrong; but I didn't see how I could go against Father. I didn't say anything.'
'Everybody was quiet for a minute. Then Sam said, "There's going to be war. Which side are you going to be on?"
Clearly, this decision was not immediate for Tim and would require lots of thinking. He was getting influenced by two different family members with two different views, but couldn't decide which one was right. This made it hard for Tim to choose his side based on his family's values and beliefs.
A real life event which saw this same understanding was the time after the Civil War. Many Americans, for generations, thought that African-Americans were worthless people and low-level people, yet they weren't. Most of these Americans continued to follow these stereotypes that their family viewed and that caused segregation to remain for a long time in the United States.
People Choose Their Side Based On Their Family Values and Beliefs
People That Were Neutral Wanted to Just Live Their Life and Be Left Alone
The American Revolution Divided Families, Towns, Cities, etc.
The American Revolution divided many families and cities. Many people had different beliefs, therefore joining different sides. Thus, this divided many families and places due to their varying beliefs.
This happens to the Meeker family several times. An instance of this is:
'"Go, Sam. Go. Get out of my sight. I can't bear to look at you any more in that vile costume. Get out. And don't come back until you come dressed as my son, not as a stranger.
"Go, Sam."'
This shows that Father and Sam were divided because one was a Tory and the other was a Patriot. This shows that the war divides families and towns.
A real life event of this is the American Civil War. In the war, many people were divided. President Lincoln's brothers' in law were all Confederate generals, while he was the Union leader. This separation was true for many other families in the war.
By Anik Patel
My Brother Sam Is Dead: Essential Understandings
Many people during war remained neutral because they did not like war or did not support either side of the conflict. These people did not care for the war or want anything to do with it. All they wanted was the war to be over.
Tim, towards the end of the book, showed neutrality when Sam was going to be executed by his own side, the Patriots.
'"I don't care who wins anymore I just want it to be over."
This statement made by him shows that he didn't care who won. He though that the war was taking a toll against precious human life and worsening relationships with one another. Tim figured that the war could only bring total chaos and nothing good would come from it.
Sweden shows neutrality in most conflicts. One instance of this was World War II. They let many countries to use their facilities. However, they did not show any favoritism towards any other country. Sweden wants to be neutral because they want to be left alone and not bothered by war.
The True Cost of War
In war, many people lose their lives. Many of these, are innocent civilians. War brings hunger, sickness, and chaos. There is billions of dollars in damage, which can take decades to rebuild. In the end, only one side wins, and that side suffers a heavy toll that the war wouldn't really be worth anything anymore.
Tim experienced first hand the true cost of war when Sam gets shot by the Patriots.
"I never heard the guns roar. He hit the ground on his belly and flopped over on his back. He wasn't dead yet. He lay there shaking and thrashing about, his knees jerking up and down. They shot him from so close that his clothes were on fire. He went on jerking in flames on his chest until another soldier shot him again. Then he stopped jerking."
In the years since, he has always remembered his father and brother's death and how it brought great sorrow to him and his mother.
This is also shown in war today. Many soldiers are getting killed day by day in wars such as the Afghanistan war.
The picture above shows Martian uther King Jr. at the Lincoln Memorial.
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