My Brother Sam Is Dead

by Christopher Collier, James L. Collier

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Summary of events in My Brother Sam Is Dead, Chapters 2-10


In My Brother Sam Is Dead, chapters 2-10, Tim Meeker grapples with the Revolutionary War's impact on his family. Sam returns home, causing tension with their Loyalist father. Tim witnesses the war's brutality, including a raid on their tavern. He matures quickly, taking on responsibilities after their father's capture, and begins questioning his own beliefs about the war and its consequences.

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Can you provide a summary of chapter four in My Brother Sam Is Dead?

Tim has been waiting for months to see Sam. Chapter 3 ends with Betsy giving Tim a signal that lets him know Sam has covertly returned for a brief visit. Chapter 4 begins with Tim being super excited to see his brother. The catch is that he has to sneak out of the tavern and all of his duties without letting his family know what is going on. While he is trying to figure out his plans, a group of Patriot soldiers shows up and begins harassing his parents. They want Mr. Meeker's gun. Tim decides to run for the Warrups's house, because this is where Sam is hiding, and Sam should be able to help his parents. All Sam has to do is bring the gun that the Patriots want. This will prove that Tim's dad no longer has the weapon. The problem is that Sam doesn't want to do that. He wasn't given permission to come into town to see Betsy. If he shows up at the tavern, he could be hanged for being a deserter. Sam also can't give the gun to Tim, because Sam can be hanged for "losing" his weapon. Tim finally convinces Sam to come back to the tavern. By the time they get there, the Patriot soldiers have left. Sam sees his father very briefly before turning and running back the way he came.

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What events occur in chapters 2-6 of My Brother Sam is Dead?

In Chapter 2 Tim (the narrator) explains to the reader his community's perspective on the war, then talks with his father about what Sam wanted and then with Sam and Betsy Read about the reasons for the war.

In Chapter 3 Tim describes life at the start of the war, and then gets word from Betsy that Sam is back in the area, so he can see his brother.

In Chapter 4 Continental soldiers come to the tavern and try to take Tim's father's rifle, which Sam had taken with him. Tim runs to get Sam.

In Chapter 5 Mr. Herron asks Tim's father if he (Mr. Herron) can hire Tim to carry business letters; Tim's father says no, because they must be war-related.

In Chapter 6 Tim decides he wants to carry the letters anyway, for the adventure (and money). However, he runs in to Betsy Read on the way, and she opens the letter, which was just a test to see if he was reliable (which he obviously wasn't).

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What occurs in Chapters 7-10 of My Brother Sam is Dead?

In the fall of 1776, Mr. Meeker must plan his usual trip to Verplancks Point to trade cattle in exchange for supplies needed by the family.  Because "there's no one else to do it", Tim will accompany him.  Along the way they are accosted by "cow-boys", Rebels purportedly intent on seeing that the cattle do not fall into Loyalist hands.  A group of riders comes to Tim and his father's rescue, and escorts them safely to their relatives' home in North Salem (Chapter 7).

The riders who rescued Tim and his father are from the "Committee of Safety", which struggles to maintain order between the Rebels and Tories who "live almost in open warfare" in Westchester County.  With the help of their relatives and the Committee escort, Tim and his father get safely to Verplancks Point, do their trading, and return to North Salem (Chapter 8).

Mr. Meeker and Tim must go the rest of the way home alone.  Mr. Meeker rides on ahead to check for danger, while Tim drives the wagon.  On one of his scouting forays, Mr. Meeker is captured by the "cow-boys".  Tim is terrified when, later, he too is again accosted by the bandits, but he manages to convince them that the escort is arriving, and scares them off.  Mr. Meeker does not return, and Tim, not knowing what to do, goes home alone (Chapter 9).

Now that both Mr. Meeker and Sam are gone, Tim and his mother must do all the work on the farm and at the tavern alone.  Tim tries to reach Sam, but is unsuccessful.  Since he has come home by himself with the wagon, Tim "(hasn't) felt like a boy anymore...(he has) changed...(is) acting more like a grownup".  In the spring of 1777, British troops come to town, and skirmish with the Rebels in the area.  Witnessing the brutality of the "Redcoats", Tim, who had definitely sympathized with the Loyalists after coming back from Verplancks, finds he "doesn't "feel much like being a Tory anymore" (Chapter 10).

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