Study Guide

Autobiography of My Dead Brother Violence

By Walter Dean Myers

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Autobiography of My Dead Brother begins and ends with the funerals of teenage boys who are murdered in gang-related incidents. Several drive-bys are sandwiched in between those funerals, and Jesse's sketchbook includes drawings of photorealistic handguns and automatic weapons because these are things he sees on a regular basis. There are racist cops in the mix, too, who think shooting black children is funny. And that just touches on the violence in the streets. Violence can also occur at homeā€”even a home like Jesse's that has parents who are (mostly) loving and supportive.

Questions About Violence

  1. Living in a neighborhood with so much violence seems to have a physical effect on Jesse. Describe these "side effects." What do they tell you about the role violence plays in his life?
  2. After Jesse's dad hits him, Jesse says that "we weren't that kind of family" (18.10). What do you think he means?
  3. Do you see a connection between domestic violence and gang violence in the novel? Explain your answer.

Chew on This

Autobiography of My Dead Brother describes violence as something people bring upon themselves through their actions.

Autobiography of My Dead Brother describes violence as something that can happen to anyone, anywhere.

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