Summary and Analysis
After Machu Picchu, the tour travels to Easter Island, "the remotest inhabited island in the world," which is over 2,000 miles from Chile. The first thing Nicolas Sparks notices about the island is the lack of trees. This is partly due to the using of trees to transport the Moai statues; mostly, though, it was the combination of overuse and overcrowding. Imported trees were diseased, so instead of helping the situation, the problem was exacerbated.
Watching the sunset, Micah informs his brother that Nicholas is too stressed and needs to spend time with guy friends. In return, Nicholas quotes scripture, First Corinthians, Chapter 10, to support his view that God did not abandon the brothers in their time of need. Nicholas tells his brother that he should not abandon God.
For Nicholas, viewing the statues becomes similar to viewing the pottery — that is, a little repetitive — but how the statues were transported from the volcano quarry to their current location fascinates him. While enjoying the view, the brothers also enjoy the memories of their lives together growing up and having fun, although, at this point in their youth, they continue to grow apart.
Because they have the same birthday, Dana began a tradition of singing "Happy Birthday" to Nicholas, and he sang it back to her. Dana shared a wish that when she grows up, all she wants is to be married, have kids, and own horses.
The family soon moved into the only house Jill and Patrick ever owned. During the move, they broke their Volkswagen van, but at least all the siblings had their own rooms. The chapter ends with two food-related memories. The first was when their father became a chef and served burnt beans for dinner; the second was their obsession with food in general and their father's Oreos specifically. When his children would eat his hidden stash of Oreos, Patrick would refer to them as "G-D-N VULTURES!"
Micah's comment that "relationships are the most important thing in life" captures the essence of Three Weeks with My Brother. The memoir is about the relationships between parents and their children, between siblings, between spouses, and between individuals and God.
Three Weeks with My Brother is also about the function of family and memory. Although the brothers are able to draw "comfort from the other's voice," they are not always together. When they are apart, they draw strength from their memories. One of the memories they share is what they had and did not have growing up. Material possessions were often few and far between. Extra food, when it was available, was devoured. Christmas presents began to be of a practical nature — specifically, tools.
Micah was able to turn every situation to his advantage — for example, using the tools to sneak out of the house. Although they did not have luxuries, what the siblings did have was one another. Even as they developed their own personalities and friendships, they developed a close-knit bond with their mother's guidance. At this point, Nicholas and Dana were closer than Nicholas was with Micah.
Both food-related stories in the chapter are humorous and illustrate that the family was not starving, but when they were growing up, there was not often a lot to spare. Therefore, the siblings enjoyed time at friends' houses or raiding their father's hidden stash of cookies.
Moai monolithic human figures carved from rock on the Polynesian island of Easter Island, Chile between the years 1250 and 1500
La Niña a sustained sea-surface temperature anomaly of magnitude greater than 0.5°C across the central tropical Pacific Ocean, producing predictable variations in local and regional weather patterns
gulag a Soviet prison camp for political prisoners