Study Guide

Little Brother Friendship

By Cory Doctorow


Chapter 10
Marcus Yallow

[Marcus:] "Tell them that they can bring a maximum of one person, and it has to be someone they've known personally for a minimum of five years." (10.33)

Because if someone still speaks to you after five years and you're under the age of twenty, that's a quarter of your lifetime. That means real friendship.

Chapter 14

I hadn't spoken to Van in weeks, and those weeks felt like months. We used to talk every day. (14.44)

Times, they are a changin'. Growing up is hard, especially when you loose friends. Van's important to Marcus and not having her around is just another thing that's changed since the bridge blew up.

Chapter 16

"Do you want to record this too?" she asked.

Hadn't actually thought of that. I could see why it would be useful if I wanted to dispute what Barbara printed, though. Still, if I couldn't trust her to do right by me, I was doomed anyway.

"No, that's OK," I said. (16.145-6)

When talking to investigative reporters on the scoop of the decade, think about bringing your own recording device. Or just trust them if they've known you a long time. Whatever.

Chapter 20

I'd written the note plainly and simply, just laying it out for her: I know you don't approve. I understand. But this is it, this is the most important favor I've ever asked of you. Please.
Please. She'd come. I knew she would. We had a lot of history, Van and I. She didn't like what had happened to the world, either. (20.106-7)

Van's the only hope for getting Darryl out of prison and changing the world. Good thing she shows up after getting Marcus's note. Why does she come?

Chapter 21
Barbara Stratford

[Barbara:] "What do you want to do? Walk on the beach? Get a meal? These people had an incredible staff room ­­ we raided it on the way in. Gourmet all the way."
At last a question I could answer. "I want to find Ange. I want to find Darryl." (21.15-16)

What would you do if you'd just been saved from waterboarding?

[Vanessa:] "They keep asking me questions about you and Darryl."

There was a voice blaring over the loudspeaker, shouting at us to stop talking, to walk, but we ignored it.

"Answer them," I said, instantly. "Anything they ask, answer them. If it'll get you out." (4. 49-51)

When Marcus and Vanessa unexpectedly meet in the prison yard they ignore everything else. Marcus tries to protect Van and acts like a leader, just like he did during their times playing Harajuku Fun Madness.

I needed to get online and find out what was going on. I needed to talk to Jolu and Vanessa. I needed to get working on finding Darryl. (5.94)

Sometimes friendship means staying up late on the computer chatting and surfing the web.

Vanessa: "I can't do it, I'm sorry. I can't watch you do this. It's like watching a car­wreck in slow motion. You're going to destroy yourself, and I love you too much to watch it happen." (7.59)

What kind of love is Vanessa talking about? Why's she convinced that Marcus will lose against the DHS?

That's called "transitive trust" ­­ trust that moves across the web of our relationships. A web of trust is a bigger version of this. (10.20-21)

This is Marcus explaining how a web of trust works to the reader. Our analysis: a friend of my friend is a friend. Does that mean that the enemy of my enemy my friend, too?

I had just mightily smote Darryl in a little clearing where he'd been treasure­hunting, and we were having a little laugh over my extreme sneakiness. He was going to go monstering — killed players could switch to playing monsters, which meant that the longer the game wore on, the more monsters there were coming after you, meaning that everyone got to keep on playing and the game's battles just got more and more epic. (18.17)

Ah, the good old days when Marcus and Darryl would spend the weekends LARPing with others in the woods.

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