Quotes from “The Brothers K” by David James Duncan

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The Brothers K by David James Duncan explores various themes, including social interaction between people with different belief systems, the idolization of sports, generational gaps, the impact of war on families, and the concept of trust. The novel portrays the differences between the characters and how they interact with each other, representing the world and its inhabitants on a smaller level. It sheds light on the heartache caused by wars and how they have affected generations throughout history. Additionally, the novel highlights the tendency of people to mistrust others and the price paid for security, resulting in judgment and labeling of individuals as creeps.

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Theme Statements:

  • The Brothers K represents the concept of social interaction between people, whom have very different belief systems.
  • The novel, The Brothers K, enables the reader to understand a child’s idolization of a given sport, in this case, baseball.
  • The novel represents the world and its inhabitants on a miniscule level, by conveying the differences between the characters and how they act towards one another.

‘Irwin is in his easy chair, reading last October’s Organic Gardening. Winter is lying across his lap.’ This quote exemplifies the generational gap as it diminishes. Age has become a significant determinant in this era. However, few acknowledge that all generations are alike, with the only distinction being technology. Each generation experiences similar challenges and hopes that their offspring will not encounter the same difficulties. Unfortunately, this is a circumstance that will never materialize.

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“While I tried to become a CO, taking into account my Christian beliefs, some strange events occurred. This quote represents the profound realization that someone from the Chance family would be affected by the war. The immense sorrow and intense emotions felt not only by the Chance family but also by all families with loved ones forced into a war that many considered unnecessary are clearly shown. The book vividly depicts the agony endured by numerous Americans during the Vietnam era, a significant suffering that few individuals of my generation have been able to understand.”

The novel reveals the impact of war not only during the Vietnam era but also throughout history and the future. War and its resulting sufferings have plagued humanity since our existence on earth. Almost every generation has experienced a significant war in their lifetime: Vietnam for my father’s generation, World War 2 for my grandfather, and World War 1 for my great-grandfather. War has become an unavoidable part of life. As I contemplate history and anticipate the future, I feel unsettled about the warfare that will affect my generation, as it could be ultimate.

I observed that both President Johnson and President Nixon speak nonsense and lie regularly, and my older brothers, with the exception of Irwin, despise them. However, despite their negative qualities, no one attempts to harm them. Therefore, dishonest individuals manage to survive. This demonstrates the truth behind the cliché “nice guys finish last,” which is evident in our society. Children are taught to view unfamiliar individuals as enemies or potential threats. Consequently, people become cautious and distrustful towards others, lacking any form of trust.

Those who can survive are those who do not expose themselves to the slightest possibility of being hindered. However, this security comes at a high cost: losing the trust and friendship of others. The rest of society then labels this person as a creep, even though everyone else is also striving for the same outcome.

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Quotes from “The Brothers K” by David James Duncan. (2019, Feb 23). Retrieved from


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