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My Brother Sam Is Dead

My Brother Sam Is Dead


by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

Telling Points

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Were you at all confused about all this telling points business? Unless you're a regular debater, "telling point" might not be a term you've heard before. Never fear, new debaters, Shmoop is here to help.

Let's start with a definition. In a debate, a telling point is a game-changing statement. It's a killer idea that might make your opponent reel with amazement at your brilliance. In a debate, scoring a telling point is a huge deal because it might even help you win. And it'll definitely impress people in the audience.

Sam loves showing off his debate skills for Tim. Actually, bragging to Tim about all the telling points he scored at college is something Sam can only do with his little bro:

Sam couldn't boast about his triumphs to Father or Mother or to Mr. Beach or anybody like that, because boasting was pride and pride was a sin, but he could boast to me about them, because I didn't care whether it was pride or not, they were interesting. (1.54)

Aw, that's actually pretty sweet. Even though he's showing off, Sam's boasting brings him closer to his baby bro. You might say that these telling points are all about building brotherly love.

Where else do telling points crop up within the novel? And what do you think they might represent?

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