My Brother Sam Is Dead
by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
My Brother Sam Is Dead Violence and Warfare Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"Have you ever seen a dear friend lying in the grass with the top of his skull off and his brains sliding out of them like wet oats? Have you ever looked into the eyes of a man with his throat cut and the blood pouring out between his fingers, knowing that there was nothing he could do, in five minutes he would be dead, yet still trying to beg for grace and not being able because his windpipe was cut in two? Have you ever heard a man shriek when he felt a bayonet go through the middle of his back? I have, Sam, I have." (1.156)
Wow, Papa Meeker sure knows how to paint a gruesome picture. Sam's dad has some bad memories of the war, and he wants Sam to realize that war isn't just an abstract idea. It's got real consequences. And from what Mr. Meeker has seen, those consequences are seriously horrific.
"What's the use of principles if you have to be dead to keep them? We're Englishmen, Timmy. Of course there are injustices, there are always injustices, that's the way of God's world. But you never get rid of injustices by fighting. Look at Europe, they've had one war after another for hundreds of years, and show me where anything ever got any better for them." (2.17)
If Mr. Meeker has to take sides, he's definitely leaning towards the Tories (remember, this means he's pro-England). But here it sounds more like Mr. M is against wars, period. To him, fighting doesn't fix anything.
"There are principles involved, Tim. Either you live up to your principles or you don't and maybe you have to take a chance on getting killed."
"Who wants to get killed?"
"Nobody wants to get killed," Sam said. But you should be willing to die for your principles."
"That's right," Betsy said.
"But Betsy, you don't have to take a chance on getting killed," I said.
"I'd fight if I could," she said. (2.52-57)
Betsy and Sam definitely believe in the Patriot cause. In fact, they're willing to die for it. Now that's some serious dedication. What do you think about their mindset? And why do you think they are so gung-ho to defend their principles?