© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
My Brother Sam Is Dead

My Brother Sam Is Dead


by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

My Brother Sam Is Dead Duty Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

"God meant man to obey. He meant children to obey their fathers, he meant men to obey their kings." (1.46)

Mr. Beach, the Redding minister, is definitely on the Tory side. He thinks everyone should do their duty to their country, and that's that. Check out how Mr. Beach uses the same sentence structure to talk about obeying fathers and obeying kings. It's almost like fathers and kings are two different kinds of rulers.

Quote #2

I guess he was right, children are supposed to keep quiet and not say anything, even when they know the grownups are wrong, but sometimes it's hard. Sometimes I have trouble keeping quiet myself, although not near as much trouble as Sam. (1.51)

Tim knows that he has an obligation to listen to his parents. But what happens when that duty conflicts with the truth? Sam likes to speak his mind and point out when adults are wrong. Tim, on the other hand, tries to "keep quiet." We're thinking this might be something that changes about Tim as he grows up.

Quote #3

Mr. Beach made it the subject of his sermon. He really got wound up on it, too. He said that our first duty was to God but that our Lord Jesus Christ had said, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's" and that meant we were supposed to be loyal Englishmen. He said that hot-tempered young men who listened not to the voices of their elders would bring a wrathy God down on their own heads. (2.19)

Mr. Beach has a lot to say about duty. For him, duty isn't just about obeying your parents or even being loyal to your country. Mr. Beach says duty is also about God. In fact, all this talk of a "wrathy God" has Tim nervous about Sam, since his idea of duty has nothing to do with being loyal to England.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...