Study Guide

Autobiography of My Dead Brother Writing Style

By Walter Dean Myers

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Writing Style

Poetic, Creative

A lot of times in books and movies you'll see teenage boys stereotyped as almost mute, speaking in grunts and one-word sentences. Not these guys, though. Jesse and his friends—especially Rise—have a way with words, turning everyday conversation into something more like poetry. Consider some of Rise's final words:

Peace and salutations to the hood. Peace and salutations to the good. May the hood and the good always walk together! (22.44)

Quite the wordsmith, right? Notably, the adults speak in much more plain, straightforward (read: boring) style. This helps create a gap between the worlds of the youth and the adults who never really seem to understand them.

We get a window into Jesse's emotional life thanks to detailed descriptions of his artistic process. Jesse is an artist who tries to understand the world through his art—when he feels troubled, he always turn to drawing, and by the time he finishes he usually better understands whatever problem's been plaguing him (see 19.39 for a solid example). The book's unconventional illustrations, which include comics and sketches that are supposed to have been drawn by Jesse himself, are another creative approach to showing how our protagonist thinks.

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