My Brother Sam Is Dead (Study Guide)

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When the story begins.
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1775
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The town where the Meeker family lives.
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Redding, Connecticut
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The town where Tim and Father travel to visit cousins is in the state of _____ _____.
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New York
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Tim tries to deliver letters to the town of _________.
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Fairfield
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The story takes place during the ______________ War.
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Revolutionary
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Irony
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a contrast between what is expected and what actually exists or happens
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Name two major ironies in the story.
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1. Father’s death on a British prison ship, even though he considers himself a Loyalist. 2. Sam’s execution by the Patriots even though he fought in the war as a Patriot. (I know there’s more!)
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What is the point of view?
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Tim Meeker – 1st person
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Romantic Hero
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the traditional hero figure who possesses great courage, a strong sense of dedication and other admirable qualities, though in reality might not be as heroic as they seem.
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Identify the turning point for Tim.
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When Tim deceives the cowboys and brings home the wagon by himself.
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What is the genre of this novel?
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historical fiction
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What is the authors’ attitude about war?
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They dislike it / they are against it.
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Susanna Meeker (Mother)
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Stands for family, doesn’t like war, refuses to serve Continental soldiers, neither a tory or patriot.
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Eliphalet \”Life\” Meeker (Father)
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has a temper, doesn’t like war, gets captures by cowboys, dies on a British ship from cholera
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Sam Meeker
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leaves family to fight, gets arrested for stealing his own cattle, executed by Continentals, A highstrung teenager who joins the Continental Army to fight for his principles against his family’s favor, Sam is executed by his own army for someone else stealing his own family’s cattle, which he didn’t really do.
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Tim Meeker
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Sam’s brother and the narrator of the story. Although younger than Sam, Tim frequently comes across as more mature and responsible. Faces difficulty choosing between his father’s ideas and Sam’s. Tim is also afraid to voice his own opinions.
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Betsy Read
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Colonel Read’s granddaughter who helps Sam out during the war. Her opinion changes later in the story, however, and she just wants Sam to return home. Patriot
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Colonel Read
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Betsy’s grandfather, head of the militia, staunch and aging Patriot
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Jerry Sanford
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Tim’s friend / neighbor who gets killed on a British prison ship
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Mr. Heron
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even though he claims to be a Tory, he’s probably working for both sides. Asks TIm to deliver a letter.
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Tom Warrups
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Native American man who lives on Colonel Read’s land and works for Mr. Heron.
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Ned
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local black man who was beheaded by the British.
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Captain Betts
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a local Patriot who was captured, then released by the British
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Colonel Parsons
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one of Sam’s officers in Redding, slightly more simpathetic than the General
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General Putnam
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Strict military leader of troops within the encampment. Sentences Sam to death as an example.
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What does Mother stand for?
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faith / religion / family (any one of those three will work!)
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What does Father stand for?
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loyalty
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What does Tim stand for?
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family
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How does Tim change within the novel?
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He becomes from a child to a young man. He has more responsibility than before.
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How did Betsy’s attitude toward the war change?
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Before, Betsy was a strong Patriot. Then, she just wanted the war to be over and Sam to come home.
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What are some events that contributed to Sam’s death?
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1. Tim not butchering the cattle 2. Sam trying to save the cows 3. Sam not being at his post (desertion)
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Why was Sam sentenced to death?
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to be an example to other troops to not misbehave.
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List names used for the British by the Patriots.
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Redcoats, Lobsterbacks, Tories, Loyalists

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