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Themes

Patriotism just means loving your country. Seems simple enough, right? Well, in My Brother Sam Is Dead, it couldn't be more complicated. See, Sam loves America, and he wants to fight for his country. In fact, he's even willing to die for his country. But Sam also thinks of himself as a Patriot with a capital P—that's the term that supporters of freedom for the American Colonies called themselves. But what about the Loyalists who supported England? Can they be patriotic too? They may not be Patriots, but they can definitely be patriotic. See what we mean? Patriotism isn't always as simple as Sam thinks.

Questions About Patriotism

  1. What's the difference between a patriot and a traitor in My Brother Sam Is Dead?
  2. What are the ways our characters show their patriotism? Are there certain actions that are patriotic? Or speeches? Or is it all about attitude?
  3. What's the difference between having patriotism and being a Patriot? Can the Loyalists be patriotic, too? How so?

Chew on This

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

Patriotism is a good thing in this book. Sam is willing to die for his country, and the authors want us to respect that.

My Brother Sam Is Dead argues that patriotism corrupts innocent young minds. All you need to do is look at what happened to Sam: being a patriot didn't work out so well for him.

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