What are some of the conflicts experienced by the characters, and what techniques does the writer use to develop themes and build tension in the novel The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt?

Conflicts experienced by the characters in The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt include, among many others, an altercation with a prospector who sneaks up on Eli and a situation in which Eli and Charlie are framed by some trappers for allegedly stealing a bear pelt. Tension is built by the way in which these scenes are portrayed.

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Charlie and Eli encounter many conflicts and challenges along their journey, and I would argue that it is these very conflicts and challenges which develop the novel's themes and build the required tension.

The first real interpersonal conflict occurs soon after the brothers cross the border into California. A lone prospector sneaks up on Eli and pulls a gun at him before asking a question. Charlie "resolves" the conflict by shooting and killing the prospector, and the brothers soon find his gold.

Another conflict arises when Eli and Charlie are framed by some trappers for the theft of a bear pelt. Eli has already given his share of the money away, rendering the brothers unable to keep peace by paying back the money. Their ultimate solution is to kill the trappers, and it's easy to see a pattern forming: when the Sisters brothers have a problem, they like to shoot their way out of it. We also learn that the reason the brothers' father is dead is that Charlie shot him after he attacked their mother.

The tension-building strategy of ongoing violence is further emphasized when Charlie and Eli gain the trust of Warm and Morris by saving them from bandits.

In a nutshell, this book has plenty of examples of times when violent situations cause heightened tension. The themes explored here include the quest for wealth and violence, and these themes are developed by action-packed scenes of adventure.

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