The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963

Essay by KomashiJunior High, 9th grade March 2008

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"It's no wonder the neighbors called us the Weird Watsons behind our backs"(Pg 17). The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Curtis, is a about boy and his family. The family includes: Kenny, the middle child, Wilona, the mother of Kenny, Daniel, the father of Kenny, Byron, Kenny's older brother, and Joey, Kenny's little sister. This entire essay is about how Byron is a good brother to Kenny and Joey.

"Byron used silent mouth language to say, 'I'm gonna jack you up in Alabama, you punk!'" (Pg 137). Now from reading that you are probably thinking that Byron is a terrible brother, but he is actually a good brother to both Kenny and Joey. Byron did many things that makes him a good brother, as well as a few things that made him a bad brother. Some of the major good things Byron did included protecting Kenny and Joey, saving Kenny from drowning, and helping Kenny feel better when he was very sad.

Byron did many other good things but these are the most important.

"'Leave the little clown alone,' Byron said" (Pg 25). Byron protected Kenny and Joey in many ways. Like when Larry Dunn stole Kenny's leather glove, Byron made Larry Dunn give it back. However, Byron went a little too far in this because he didn't have to beat up Larry. This would be something that might make Byron look like a bad brother but the fact that he got Kenny's glove back made him a good brother. Also, since Kenny had a lazy eye he would be teased by other kids a lot. But Byron protected him by telling Kenny to look at people sideways so they wouldn't notice the lazy eye. This is one example that makes Byron a good brother.

"My head went under for a third time and I knew I'd never come back up again" (Pg 176). Byron should have stopped Kenny from going to Collier's Landing, but there was no way Byron could have known what was about to happen. Byron heard Kenny yelling for help when he was in the water drowning and came to save him. In fact, when Byron came back, he dived right into the water and pulled Kenny out. Then after Kenny was back on shore Byron was shaking and crying because he almost lost Kenny. I think that is a very important reason why Byron is a good brother.

"Byron sat next to me on the floor and put my head in his lap. I still couldn't stop, even though I was soaking him worse than Joey ever drooled on anybody" (Pg 199). In this part Kenny is crying in the bathroom because of the bomb that went off in the church on September 15th, 1963. If Byron wasn't a good brother he would have just walked away and left Kenny sitting there crying in the bathroom. But instead, he spent time with Kenny and made him feel better by telling him he was going to be okay. Earlier when Kenny was hiding behind the couch hoping his problems would go away, Byron tried many ways to get him out of behind the couch. Bryon also started sleeping out on the couch to spend time with Kenny.

You should be thinking Byron is a good brother by now. If you still think Byron is a bad brother you should read the book if you haven't already because there are many other things he does that makes him a good brother. Even if you do think Byron is a good brother, you should still read the book, it is a great book.

Bibliography: The Wastsons Go to Birmingham - 1963, published 1995