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My Brother Sam Is Dead

My Brother Sam Is Dead


by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

Analysis: Writing Style

Detailed, Emotional

Our boy Tim just loves to dive into the details.

Sometimes, this means he gives us lots of specifics about the landscape. (Hop on over to the "Visions of America" theme for more on how pretty these landscapes can be.) Other times, he hits us with info about the soldiers' uniforms. And one time, he even dives into what's inside the wagon he takes back from Verplancks Point:

It was a good wagonload: two hogshead of rum, a half dozen big sacks of salt, a couple of barrels of molasses; a large chest of tea, a sack of coffee beans, a dozen brass kettles and some tin pots; a chest of breeches and some brass buckles; some drills, knives, files, axes and spades; and small boxes of pepper, allspice, cinnamon, and white powdered sugar. (8.44)

See what we mean? Just check out that list. Tim doesn't want us to miss out on a single aspect of his tale, right down to the powdered sugar.

But the things Tim likes to detail the most are his own thoughts and feelings. Yep, Tim's detailed style is also a pretty emotional one. Check out the way he tells us about his reaction to outwitting the cowboys:

I stood for a moment listening to the sound of their hooves dying out in the snowy road, and then I began to laugh and cry all at once. My hands shook so hard I dropped my stick and my knees were so weak I could hardly walk. I felt terrific, because I'd fooled them; it would be a great story to tell Sam. But everything else was awful—Father being gone and me being alone in the snow and dark and hours to go before I got home. (9.56)

There we go, through all the ins and outs of his feelings. And if you think your head is spinning from it all, imagine how Tim feels.

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