Brother Dear by Bernice Friesen Analysis
In Brother Dear by Bernice Friesen, the author suggests that success can come in many forms, but each form is unique to each person. In the excerpt, Greg is leaving the house, with Sharlene following him and trying to convince him to stay at home. Sharlene, who is in grade 11, is caught between agreeing with her father and supporting her brother Greg, and based on their opinion of success. Greg asks a simple question as he leaves: “Is that all my family can ever do? Point out what’s wrong with me? it is this question that makes Sharlene think about what her brother’s thinking about.
This question is completely based on point of view, and following the footsteps of parents, because many parents consider what they do to be right, and what they don’t do as wrong. Greg is simply doing something different, and his father Jack, considers this to be taboo and irresponsible. “Be something. Be something. That’s all I ever get from Dad” this sentence describes how his father is always demanding Greg to do something he considers proper, such as entering university and earning a degree.
However, Greg feels that he should be allowed to make his own decisions. When Sharlene asks, “So you never want to be anything? ” Greg looks as if he is ready to kill someone. We can see from his reaction that, though he is not going to continue university or get a degree, he will still be successful, but in his eyes. The word “nothing” describes the way Sharlene was brought up, how she was taught that money and social class meant something, but self contentment was not important in life, because that did not bring success to anyone.
She realizes that Greg has defined his own success, and when she begins to see this, she describes it as “My brain feels all twisted, like I’ve just discovered I’ve been staring out of the wrong side of my hear all my life.
” Suddenly, Sharlene sees what Greg sees. She can see that his definition of success is not defined by money or status, but rather happiness and contentment. Sharlene soon also sees that Dad isn`t going to understand-ever”, because he will always think money and power means success. This is because of his past, his regret that “he hadn’t tried to be a doctor”, instead now having a John Deere dealership.Sharlene tries to keep Greg from leaving, but then he states “Maybe if I was like you, Dad would like me better”. This line shows how Greg feels about his father; Jack only wanted him to earn a degree and get a good job, and he had managed to drive this into Sharlene. Sharlene is the hardworking daughter, who has goals just as high as her father’s before he failed them. Now, though, now is the time Greg changes her point of view, and teaches her that success can mean happiness, even if it means living in the streets with no job. She begins to see that Greg is Greg because of his freedom, his lack of high achievements and goals.
In the end, Greg leaves, but he has taught Sharlene a very important lesson, that success does not have a rigid definition; it can be formed and made into something completely different. While Sharlene is watching Greg drive away, she says to herself “I’d like to run away too. Someday I will- to Europe. ” this statement shows the audience that though she may attempt to become rich and famous as quoted “I aim to be the most filthy rich” in previous pages, she also wants to follow her brother’s example of freedom and not worrying about money or social status.
Her final words “I can’t see him, but maybe he can see me” shows her happiness within, how she can show Greg that she is different from her father, that she can be free, and have the same style of success. She says “maybe he can see me”, which shows that in his heart, he can see that she will not become like his father, rather, her view of success will change, and she will try to change her father.