How do Tim's feelings change toward the war in the book "My Brother Sam is Dead"?

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As with many young men, Tim is initially very enthusiastic about war. He sees the bitter, bloody conflict between the American colonists and the British as nothing more than an awfully big adventure in which lots of exciting stuff happens. Tim's immaturity is understandable; he's never witnessed the horrors of...

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As with many young men, Tim is initially very enthusiastic about war. He sees the bitter, bloody conflict between the American colonists and the British as nothing more than an awfully big adventure in which lots of exciting stuff happens. Tim's immaturity is understandable; he's never witnessed the horrors of war and so his view of war is somewhat romanticized.

All that will change, however, when he actually experiences the tragedy of war at first hand. So long as the war's kept at a safe distance, Tim can still indulge his boyish fantasies. But when the war's brought home to him and his family, he can no longer ignore the harsh realities of war.

As the war turns up on his doorstep, Tim finds himself torn between competing loyalties. On the one hand, his father—a Loyalist—has been kidnapped by the Rebels. On the other, the British troops that Tim's father supports rampage their way through the town, murdering and pillaging as they go. All of a sudden, Tim's been hit with the stark realization that war's a good deal more complex than he previously imagined. For Tim, this incident sets in train a gradual process of disillusionment which is completed when his big brother Sam is publicly shot by the Rebels on a trumped-up charge of cattle rustling.

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When "My Brother Sam is Dead" first opens, the audience sees Tim as a wide-eyed boy. He sees war and battles as this grand adventure and he is a little disappointed that Sam gets to enlist in the army without him. Throughout the story, Tim is constantly trying to prove himself and get a taste of what he thinks of as Sam's glorious life.

Once the war begins, however, Tim's reality is shaken. He sees soldiers enter his home and prepares to fight them off. Later, he sees his father get kidnapped and barely escapes with his life. Through these events, Tim learns that war is not an adventure but rather a brutal reality which costs many innocent lives.

Tim's vision of war changed so much from the start of the story that when Sam's time comes to re-enlist, Tim begs him not to. He knows it will make him seem weak or afraid, but he doesn't care. At that point, he just wants to keep his brother safe—ultimately to no avail. 

At the very end of the story, in the epilogue, the reader gets a chance to see the adult Tim has become. He leads a happy and fulfilling life but still isn't sure the cost of war was worth it in the end.

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