Summary, Theme, Character Analysis, and Connection of “The Two Brothers” by Leo Tolstoy – Lilia, Grade 5

Summary, Theme, Character Analysis, and Connection of “The Two Brothers” by Leo Tolstoy – Lilia, Grade 5

The Summary of “The Two Brothers” 

The story “The Two Brothers” by Leo Tolstoy is about two brothers who are hiking in a forest. They find a rock that tells them to go on a quest for happiness. The younger brother decides to go, but the older brother does not think it will bring great happiness. So the younger one sets off on the quest and becomes a king of a city. A few years later he is driven out by another king and he becomes a wanderer. The younger brother finds his older brother living peacefully in a village. They are happy to find each other at last, and in the end, both have found their type of happiness.

The Character Analysis of The Younger Brother in “The Two Brothers”

The younger brother in “The Two Brothers” by Leo Tolstoy comes across as brave, curious, and independent. The younger brother is brave because he is not afraid of all the things that could go wrong. This is because even when his older brother says, “no one can know whether what is written on this stone is the truth,” he still decides to go. The younger brother is also curious because when he reads the message on the stone, he is willing to put himself in danger to find out what great happiness he can find. Lastly, he is independent because even when the older brother tells him not to go, he thinks for himself and believes that he will find great happiness. He also shows that he is independent because he leaves his older brother to go alone. Overall, the younger brother in “The Two Brothers” by Leo Tolstoy comes across as brave, curious, and independent. 

The Theme of “The Two Brothers” by Leo Tolstoy

In the story, “The Two Brothers,” Leo Tolstoy aims to convey the message that everybody has their own opinion of what happiness means to them. This is shown in the story when the younger and the older brother find a rock that tells them how to find great happiness. They go on different paths because the younger brother believes that it is worth it to follow the rock’s directions while the other doesn’t think it is worth it. The younger brother finds happiness and becomes a king for six years, but later on, he is defeated. When the younger brother finds the older brother living in a village, they are happy to be reunited. The older brother says, “I was right. Here I have lived quietly and well, while you, though you may have been a king, have seen a great deal of trouble.” But the younger brother says, “I may have nothing now, but I shall always have something to remember, while you have no memories at all.” So the resolution of the story shows that although they take different paths, they both have found their happiness.

Text to Self Connection

The way both brothers had different paths in “The Two Brothers” reminds me of when my French class was playing a game called Jeopardy. There were different groups. If your group pressed the card with the larger number, the question would be harder. If they pressed the smaller number on the card, they would get an easier question but fewer points. During the game, many people choose to pick the harder cards so they can win. Other people decided to go on a safer path by choosing the easier questions with fewer points. This is like how the younger brother decided to take a risk more to find great happiness, while the older brother decided that it wasn’t worth the risk and that he would still find happiness. Neither brother was wrong, because they both had different types of happiness. It’s similar to how either of the groups in Jeopardy was wrong because if a group made a mistake on a hard question, another team would have a chance to win. But if you chose the easier questions and others didn’t, you couldn’t win.