I'm a little behind but here goes:
1. I thought the novel's prologue really set the reader up with a lot of background information about the two brothers. How Arthur was obedient and either took after or just followed orders from his father. And how Jake, even though he's younger, isn't afraid to be different or stand up to his elders or authority figures.
2. Jake strikes me as the kind of child that acts first and thinks later. I'm not sure that he would have put the knife in Arthur's foot on purpose. But, I do think he was surprised that his shot wasn't as accurate as it should have been.
3. and 4. I'm agreeing with Bonnie on these two. I am also the oldest of 4 children (all girls if that matters!). I was the babysitter when mom wasn't around, always "in charge". If something went wrong, I got in trouble for it because, like Bonnie, I was old enough to know better. So I had to set a good example. I got good grades, a bookworm obviously, and I did what I was told, when I was told to do it. My extra curricular activities were non existent because if it was to go past curfew I wasn't going to be allowed to go, so why even ask? But I have an extremely guilty conscience. I can't even lie without being sorry and turn around and tell the truth, so I guess that roll kinda fit me.
5. I don't think any one specific thing makes Jake more difficult to manage. I think it's just the way he is. I do think it's odd that Jake does things, and Arthur feels the need to protect him or clean it up just to please his mother, when he should be jealous that he doesn't receive the same attention that Jake does. In my opinion the dad does favor Arthur because who wouldn't want the more productive kid who's easy to get along with?
6. I think it's obvious when 2 Dr. Christophersons leave, only to return later, that there's something familiar to them about the small town. It makes them want to stay. Where, like Ian's mother, she feels bored and confined. (I agree with Shirley, maybe she just needed the Internet! lol) Looking back, maybe Jake did the things he did, because he was just bored and there wasn't much else to do.
7. Arthur's relationship with his mother is an "I want to please her" attitude, where Jake feels that his mother is there to please him, like the winning the arguments thing. Which probably makes him feels as if he can get away with anything because mom will get him out of it. I think Ian just wanted some show of life from his mother. When she was absent it was ok because she wasn't yelling at him for something, but he needed her to participate and be his mother. When she was annoyed it was ok because he saw some life in her but preferred her to be well....less annoying.
8. At the end of Chapter 2 when Arthur was contemplating Jake's lies. "Jake had no reason to do such a thing, and even Jake wouldn't get his brother into so much trouble for no reason at all." It shows me that Arthur feels the need to trust Jake, because if he really did get him into trouble, wouldn't he feel betrayed by all the times he helped Jake out....even if it was to please his mom? But it was the necessity to trust that surprised me.
9. My husband's cousins, Jimmy and Jacob (weird!), right now are 11 and 9. Although closer in age than Arthur and Jake, they are very similar. Jimmy is like Arthur, very obedient to his mother, will do anything she asks. Jacob is like Jake, he takes more risks, is willing to get into a little trouble - doesn't play with knives though, thank goodness!!