In The Treasure Of Lemon Brown, Walter Dean Myers reveals theme through conflict in many ways. I found that there were three main conflicts that revealed two main themes. One of these conflicts is illustrated through this quote.
‘“Hey! Rag man!” a voice called. “We know you in here. What you got up under them rags? You got any money?”’ (339)
This is an example of a conflict, because people are selfish and want Lemon Brown’s ‘money.’ We later find out that they had poles in their hands, which implies that they were willing to harm him in order to get that money. There is a theme of selfishness because the men are trying to steal Lemon Brown’s treasure. If people try to steal stuff, then it is usually for their own personal benefit, especially when it comes to money. Since they had poles in their hands, we can infer that they were willing to harm Lemon Brown in order to get the ‘money.’ This implies that they only care about themselves, and not Mr. Brown.
This quote illustrates the second conflict very well.
‘“They sent back what he had with him over there, and what it was is this old mouth fiddle and these clippings. Him carrying it around with him like that told me it meant something to him. That was my treasure, and when I give it to him, he treated it just like that, a treasure.”’ (341)
The death of someone, in this case the main character’s son, is a conflict. When someone’s child dies, that is a problem, because it is devastating to that person. Since Lemon Brown gave his son his harmonica and it was sent back to him at the word of his son’s death, it shows him that his son carried it with him, so it meant a lot to his son. Since it meant a lot to his son, it automatically becomes more valuable to him (it becomes his treasure).
This quote shows that fear can reveal a theme of selfishness.
‘“Don’t try nothin’ ‘cause I got a razor sharp enough to cut a week into nine days!”’ (337)
This shows that Lemon Brown is insecure and afraid, because there is no other reason for him to have a weapon and threaten someone with it. We later learn that this fear and need to posses weapons is caused by men that will stop at nothing to get a hold of Lemon Brown’s ‘treasure.’ Selfishness powered these men’s wills to harm someone for money. This reveals the theme of selfishness, because selfishness caused the men to want Lemon Brown’s ‘money,’ and in turn made him fear them enough to threaten them with weapons. It also caused them to be willing to put someone in harm’s way for their own personal benefit.