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My Brother Sam Is Dead

My Brother Sam Is Dead


by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

Analysis: What's Up With the Ending?

My Brother Sam Is Dead kind of has two endings. Double the satisfaction, we say. Let's break them down.

Ending #1: The One Where Sam Dies

First, we've got the ending where Sam gets executed in the very last sentence of the book.

And this isn't a nice and easy death either. Let's get real here: it's totally gruesome. Not only does Sam get shot multiple times with a bag over his head, but to top it off, the shots set his clothes on fire. And to make it worse, we know that poor Sam is innocent. This may be one of the roughest endings we've seen in a while.

So we've just got to ask: what do you think of this ending? Is this how you thought Sam would die?

Ending #2: The One Where Tim Gets Gray Hair

After Sam dies, we get a bonus ending: the epilogue. An epilogue is like the final chapter in a book, but normally it explains what happens after the main story is over. In Tim's epilogue, we hear about Tim's life after the war. Our boy grows up big and strong, moves to Pennsylvania, becomes a hotshot businessman, gets hitched, has kiddos, and then writes down the story that we've just read.

To be honest, we got really used to thinking about Tim as a boy, so thinking about him as an old man is totally weird. Plus, Tim spent a ton of time in the book telling us about all of his horrific stories from the war, but then he barely gives us any information on the happier times in his life. You know, the getting hitched and being successful times. What a party pooper.

What do you think of the epilogue? Does Ending #2 make you look back on Ending #1 differently?

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