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My Brother Sam Is Dead

My Brother Sam Is Dead


by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

My Brother Sam Is Dead Theme of Coming of Age

Wouldn't it be nice if Sam and Tim got to grow up in a pretty green pasture with butterflies and unicorns? Yeah, that's not happening for our Meeker brothers. Instead, they get to grow up during the Revolutionary War. And there's one thing we know for sure: the war makes these boys grow up quickly. For Sam, growing up means making his own decisions and running away from home. For Tim, it means helping his mom out around the tavern. Both brothers have plenty of struggles to mature. By the end of My Brother Sam Is Dead, do you think either one succeeds?

Questions About Coming of Age

  1. How does the Revolutionary War affect the process of growing up? Are all of the effects negative? Or are there some positive effects, too?
  2. Do Tim and Sam grow up in different ways? How do their separate experiences affect the way they become adults?
  3. Are there any young characters that don't grow up? Or are there any adult characters who act like kids?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Tim should have held on to his childhood. The book argues that the war makes Tim grow up way too quickly.

Tim becomes an adult just in the nick of time. The book supports Tim's growth, even if it is because of the war.

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