Topics for Discussion
1. Why does the gun, which the Meekers call Brown Bess, play a major part in the beginning of the story? Why is this symbol so important to both Sam and his father?
2. Is Tim loyal to his father, a Tory? Is he loyal to Sam, a rebel? Why is Tim torn in his decision? Does he ever choose sides? Which side do you think he chooses?
3. Does Tim have a good opportunity to serve as a double agent? Is he successful as a spy? Why or why not?
4. Which conflict is the more interesting to you: the one between Sam and Life, or the war between the countries? Why?
5. What one event marks a change in Tim that makes him mature overnight?
6. Do you think the authors resorted to sensationalism in their descriptions of the gory scenes of war? Of Sam's execution? Explain your reaction to the conflict and its outcome.
7. What do you learn of Tim's character from his first-person account of the story? Does hearing the story from Tim's point of view make you care more about Tim and what happens to him?