Study Guide

Autobiography of My Dead Brother Plot Analysis

By Walter Dean Myers

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Plot Analysis


Best Friends Forever?

Jesse and Rise have been besties their whole lives, ever since Jesse was one and Rise was three. So sweet, right? Not so fast: Now that they're teenagers, Jesse worries they're growing apart. Sometimes it seems like Rise has turned into a totally different person.

Rising Action

Here Comes Trouble

Rise is behaving in ways that make him unrecognizable to Jesse—and on top of that, he's been hanging around some really shady characters. Rise seems to be contemplating a life of crime, and increasingly he's dragging the Counts (the nonviolent social club he's in with Jesse) into his conflict with the Diablos, a local gang. Jesse doesn't want to get involved, but he's not sure how to resist.


The Set-Up

Everything comes to a head when Rise calls for the Counts to meet with the Diablos to discuss turf. Jesse heads into the meeting with a lot of misgivings—but much to his surprise, it goes off without a hitch: The Diablos don't show, and Rise says he wants to back down from the turf war. Little does Jesse know that Rise has secretly arranged for a hit on the Diablos at another location; he's just using this meeting with Jesse and Co. as an alibi. Soon enough, three Diablos are dead, and Jesse and the rest of the Counts are hauled down to the police station for questioning.

Falling Action

Off the Hook

Jesse learns that Rise arranged for the hit on the Diablos, and it's a major bummer to our main man. On the upside, at least Rise doesn't get his (totally innocent) friends into any trouble with the police. Jesse decides to move on with his life, and Rise prepares to leave town. Fingers crossed things finally settle down.


R.I.P. Rise

Okay, so the title of the book is Autobiography of My Dead Brother—from page one, it seems kind of inevitable that someone is going to die. Still, it's really sad when Little Man shoots Rise, and it's sadder still when Rise dies in Jesse's arms. Anyway, don't mind us. We're not crying; we've just got something in our eyes.

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