Who do you think killed the man and the boy outside the village? Was it the rebels, or the soldiers trying to make a point? Explain.
I never thought of it like this but now that you bring it up, it does make sense that it could be the soldiers.
I think that it was the rebels because it is true they are waiting to shoot anyone who comes by.
It never crossed my mind that the soldiers killed the little boy and his father. As much hate as the soldiers had I don't think that they would do something that bad, they said that they wanted to get revenge on the rebels because of all the harm they had caused. So why would they be hypocrites and do exactly what the rebels are doing?
I think it was the soldiers. They made such a point that the rebels were terrible but they buried people alive and murdered just as many people.
2 years is a long time for a child
Do you think this time went by faster for him because of the drugs?
At the beginning of chapter 13 the Corporal says, "If any of you are a Christian then you may have the day off". If the boys are Christians do they feel like it is good to kill people?
I dont think they feel like it is good to kill them. I just think that they have been brainwashed, plus all the drugs that they are using makes them think it is OK to kill people.
I think all their judgement has been almost blurred with their decisions to stay alive. So it wouldn't really matter how they felt the only goal was staying alive.
I don't think anyone feels that it is "good to kill people".
I don't think anyone feels like killing people is a good thing, Christian or not. However, the boys could have a little more guilt later on because of their religion.
None of them feel like it is good to kill at first regardless of their religion.
I'm not sure. I wonder how much religious prejudice is within the army. Are people with a certain religion treated better than others?
I think that religion didn't affect them that much and their conscience wasn't affected that much. They might have not been taught as many lessons that a Christian would learn in church because of the situation they were in and as a result killing others for survival didn't seem so bad.
I don't think being a part of a certain religion would impact how someone feels about killing anybody.
If they were Christians, they would believe that killing people is bad, but everything that has happened in the war might cause them to forget there morals, lose their innocence, and believe that doing what the commander is telling them to do is the right thing.
If you were Ishmael in the war would you want to be suddenly taken out and put into real world?
I think at first I would be really angry, although as time goes on I would start to realize how harsh the war really was, and how lucky I was to be pulled out.
Yes! It would be a shock to suddenly be put in the real world, but it's better than being in the war.
Well I think that he was so used to fighting and didn't know anything else for the past two years. He was probably just shocked that he was chosen for a new life. Obviously in the end it was a positive thing that he got taken out of the war because he did recover and is now letting people around the world know about these terrible events.
I think my mind would be so clouded by drugs and a desire for violence that I would want to remain where I was and continue killing people. Ishmael said that the army was his family, I wouldn't want to be taken from my family! (Even if all the family did was kill and take drugs) If I was taken out just as abruptly as Ishmael was, I would react the same way as he did.
I think that Ishmael acted the way he did because the war had been his life for two years, and to undergo such a major change like that would be hard for anyone. It would be very difficult to go back to what was considered normal and civil, when for two years, these boys have been trained to kill
Is there any difference in the rebels vs the soldiers morals?
There is no difference at all in the two groups, they still torture people and kill them for fun. They are vowed to not become like thee men they are killing, but they are more alike each other than more than anyone realized.
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No, both the army and the rebels think that they are doing good for their own cause. I don't think they even have morals at this point though because what they have been taught by parents have been clouded by the lieutenant's thoughts, drugs, and a desire to kill.
The funny thing about the rebels and the soldiers is that they are very similar. They both make excuses for their fighting by saying they are defending their countries. They also say that they should kill the other because they kill civilians without reason. Both sides use the same reasoning.
Like Lexi said, the leaders at least, believe in there cause and have been influencing the boys. There were so so many parallels.
I do think that they had different morals but in the end they were still awful people because of the torture and pain they cause each other.
What do you think was Ishmael's sudden lust for killing in chapter 13?
The general triggered Ishmael's anger by saying repeatedly that these rebels are the ones who ruined your life and murdered your family. This made Ishmael want to get revenge on the rebel army and then the adrenaline and deaths of his friends made him want to kill even more.
I think when Ishmael saw both Josiah and Musa had been killed, he snapped into reality and realized that the only way for him to survive the war, and the only option he had, was to kill the enemy, the rebels. I also think he began thinking about his family and his past, realizing that the rebels had destroyed his life, which is when he began to want to take revenge on them and kill them as they killed his family.
He manipulated the boys by giving them drugs, and telling them that those rebels could have been the people who killed you family, they don't deserve to live. All the weight that the war had put onto Ishmael had just built up, and fighting as a soldier was a release for Ishmael.
During the book, I noticed that as time progressed Ismael became less violent and more trusting in adults. Why do you think this happened? Does it have anything to do with having no drugs?
I think it has to do with the fact that Ishmael never completely lost all his innocence and his small amount of hope that could return with a little help.
The drugs had an influence. But changing a way of life will change people.
Him not having drugs was a small part of it, but I think that main reason was the Ishmael was just coming back to reality, and slowly re-building the trust in people he had before the war.
Even though Ishmael writes only a little on his time in the army, I think it was so gruesome that you felt that it was enough.
I agree. I think having more about his time in the army wouldn't have been a good thing.
How is the army any different than the rebels? They both raid villages and kill people mercilessly? So what makes the army so much better?
Both sides of the war had the same problems. They both had lost their families to the enemy and they lost their lives because the enemy both attacked villages because they want to revenge their families lives.
Though they both raid villages and kill people, all the rebels want is power and will stop at nothing to do that. Where as the army wants freedom and safety for everyone but they will also stop at nothing to get it. What they are fighting for is very different but how they try to achieve that is the essentially the same.
There really was't much of a difference. The rebels and the army were basically the same. The government was really corrupt. Why do you think the rebels were rebelling each other?
I don't believe that the rebels are any different from the children. They both commit the same crimes, and they seem to have lost all respect for human beings. Plus, they make children fight, and give them addictive drugs.
When Ishmael came off the drugs and what not, it totally screwed with hus mind.
I think that the drugs really helped him through the war. Just imagine how hard that would have been for him if he would not have them. The drugs really blurred the childrens' minds and memories. So as he was coming off he wasn't used to not having the drugs there to help him forget what happened. He finally had to face the reality of what his world had become.
It's horrible how when the boys were brought into the rehabilitation center that they are so brainwashed by both sides of the war that ultimately some of them are killed because they can't let go of the memories. I wonder if they staff felt so helpless at times because they had no clue what to do to help these boys.
With the abrupt change of environment to the rehabilitation center, do you think by the end of Chapter 17 Ishmael is extremely adaptable due to the small amount of time it required for him to become rehabilitated? Do you think that this ability to adapt helped him stay alive in the war?
I think that some of the reason that Ishmael doesn't talk about his experience in the war because it was such a traumatic experience and he doesn't want to relive these horrible things. He was also on drugs during this whole experience which could have impacted his memory.
Ishmael was unaware before the war that he was capable of such horrific actions when he is recruited by the army and when he loses those that he loves the most, his family and friends. Also he attacked the nurses and other boys affected by the civil war. If I went through that experience and did what he did, I could never forgive myself
War is war... There's no reason to brutally murder people. The amry is JUST AS BAD as the rebels!
I agree, the only thing that separated their actions is that they are fighting for different causes. Other than that, they all are committing the same crimes and are all causing much pain.
One thing that I noticed in the book, is that the commander of the squad that Ishmael was in told the soldiers that the rebels were fighting and killing for no reason, but the army was fighting for their country. One thing that I thought was that yes there were fighting for their country, but they were trained and brainwashed to kill the rebels, just like the rebel told their soldiers. All the boys involved in that war were brainwashed to kill the people on the other side. The boys became used to killing and no longer feel anything
I found it amazing the amount of patience the facility members and the nurses had with the boys even after the abuse they received when attempting to help them. I am not sure I would be able to go through all the abuse for so long and never see improvement and still stay around to try and help the kids.
Agreed. I would have flipped out if I was the nurse.
Those nurses are very brave to face these kids who ave been so scarred by the war. The rudeness, the abuse, the nurses had the patience to kind of look through that to the little boys these kids really are.
Why do you think the nurse and officials (people at the hospital place) are so nice to the kids, when the kids act like demons?!
I think it's because they know how much the kids have been through and being cruel or forceful towards them will only make it worse. The kids need to have trust in the nurses.
The nurses know that what they do in the rehab center could change the boy's lives for better or worse for the rest of their lives. Without the nurturing care of the nurses, the boys would never recover from what they have experienced.
Hi Luke--Thanks for joining. I think they see them as small children. They see them as children who have been brainwashed and need to be loved and helped. They are truly remarkable.
They know that these kids have been through more in only a couple of years than most people have been through in a lifetime, and have endured months/years of abuse. They have lost trust in nearly everyone around them and need rehabilitation to get that back, you can't be un-trusting forever.
Do you think that the soldiers would be able to maintain the same amount of control over the child soldiers without the drugs?
No because the drugs brainwashed them and they used it to have them kill the opposing side.
i Think the drugs are more of a way to keep the boys calm during the war and control their emotions and feelings, but without the drugs fear would control the boys.
I think it's good to remember that these are teenage boys, some who are even younger than that, and at this age it's really hard to control them. They have a lot of restless energy and nerves because of the war they are fighting in. The drugs helped a lot with controlling them and letting them focus on fighting.
Ester is very smart in bringing out the child in Ishmael, giving him gifts and things that he had as a child. How do you think the relationship between Ester and Ishmael will progress?
Maybe Ishmael will find her as a mother figure.
Ester will probably become something of a foster mother to Ishmael.
I think she is like a big sister.
I think that Ishmael looks up to Esther as a friend figure, because all of his previous friends and family members were killed. He seeks solace in her because she is so kind to him.
I think that Esther already poses as a mother figure by all the things that she has done for Ishmael, but on the other hand Ishmael has so many fond memories of his mother and I think that Esther can't replace his mother.
Do you think that the drugs he took helped him not go insane while he was killing so many people? Also, how essential are the cassette tapes that Esther got Ishmael.
The drugs screwed up his brain, so yes they affected his sanity. The cassette tapes seem to bring out the boy in Ishmael.
The cassette tapes could remind him of who he was before he was in the army and sooth him. Music meant so much to Ishmael until the thought of music and rap was replaced by gunfire and war, so reintroducing him to it might calm him down.
I think the drugs kind of put a veil over his eyes. They made it so that he couldn't fully see or process what he was doing.
I think that the drugs made it easier for him to almost not think about what's going on, but not necessarily not drive him to insanity, because I think that he was already prepared for something like this to happen to him. and I think that it's essential that Esther gave Ishmael the cassette tapes, because it gave him almost an "at home" feeling so he was given a tiny bit of hope and something to reassure him
what do you think fear and the power of intimidation does to the characterization of the characters of the book, how does that relate to those of Othello and lord of the flies? Explain.
What do you think were Alhaji's and Ishmael's thoughts as they were killing all these people? Do you think that they thought that the whole thing was a game or was it just a blur?
I would imagine it was more of a blur, partially because of the drugs.
They're on drugs. All they feel is arush.
I think even if they weren't on drugs, I think eventually is would all just be a blur.
I think that the drugs heavily impacted their minds and they lost all emotional ties and he was just engulfed with hatred for the rebels.
Can anyone name the types of weapons the boys in the army used?
The boys used G3's and AK47's.
RPGs, AK47s, grenades, bayonets and whatever other weapons they pick up from dead rebels.
they mentioned AK-47's, RP-G's and bayonets. Probably more that I can't remember.
How old is Esther?:
I'd guess 25ish
Really? I was kind of imagining her in her early thirties.
Do you think that the war movies made the boys more violent? How about the drugs? Why or why not?
War movies... not neccessarily, its like videogames, do they really make us violent?
I think they inspired the boys in a bad way to act like that. They wanted to get back on the rebels and look tough and strong. It doesn't help that they were on drugs, the drugs made them not sleep and they got addicted. I do think the drugs influenced them to be more violent.
I think this is a huge discussion to have. I think a lot of people would say no, a movie wouldn't make you do that. I somewhat agree. But on the other hand, these are young boys who are in the middle of a war and they have been given guns. I think showing the movies gave them the illusion of being movie stars while they fought.
It could have affected it because these kids were on drugs on just wanted to impress the lieutenant. So in turn, they saw these courageous heroes in the movies and they wanted to be just like them so they looked up to them and tried to reenact what they did in the movies in real life.
I think the war movies actually did make the boys more violent. They saw the movie stars like Rambo as super cool war heroes who became their role model, but I think the revenge the boys wanted made them the most violent
The drugs made the boys not feel, or think so they didn't realize whether something was right or wrong. This probably made the the boys more violent because they were bored, so they turned to killing rebels in raids for fun. The movies definitely made an impact in turning the boys violent. At one point the book said that on a raid, Ishmael's friend, Alhaji, slit rebels throats pretending to be a movie character. This is evidence that the movies were a huge factor into the boy's violence.
I think it inspired the boys to be more violent. War movies make war look a lot simpler and easier than it actually is.
Ishmael's loyalty as a soldier is fierce when chapter 15 opens, which is why his dismissal from service is so painful. He admires the lieutenant and seeks his approval as a father figure. The theme of confusion and fear returns when the boys are taken from their squad. Ishmael's journey out of the war makes him anxious and afraid. He doesn't know why he's being sent away, and he doesn't know where they are going. If Ishmael hadn't gotten out when he did, do you think that he wouldn't have ever been able to become the man he is today?
Why do you think the people working at the rehabilitation center were so patient and understanding? There were many times when the boys could have easily taken control and killed many people but the workers interfered. How would you react if you were working at the rehabilitation center? Would you do anything differently?
Before Ishmael loses his innocence by finding joy in killing the rebels and hurting people without question, the cassette tapes in his pant pockets are burned. After his whole fighting experience he is turned back to reality with a great influence of rap music from different cassette tapes. Are the cassette tapes being used as a symbol of Ishmael's innocence and childhood?
I believe the cassettes do remind Ishmael of his innocent childhood when his biggest problem was learning the next word to a rap song or learning a difficult dance move. The cassettes bring back memories of his brother and act as a distraction.
Defiantly they are. The cassette tapes bring him back to all the memories he had before the war. When the cassette tapes in his pants are burned, if seemed like the last part of his childhood was ripped away. After his fighting experience the rap music brings him back to that innocence and childhood.
In Ishmael's youth, he had noticed how atrocious the acts the rebels committed including extreme torture, and he was shocked by just how horrible everything was and wanted to keep away from them more than anything. However, as soon as Beah is captured and recruited into the soldier's group he seems to adapt quickly and even states, "I didn't feel a thing for him, didn't think much about what I was doing. I just waited for the corporal's order" (pg 124). I was shocked just by how quickly Ishmael's state of mind snapped, and he began killing and committing acts of torture just as easily if not more than the rebels.
It is incredible how his state of mind drastically changes from fearing a gun to loving the blood and death that was surrounding him. Also, the book quickly just changes from the good Ishmael to the insane Ishmael without to much explanation.
When I was reading this I couldn't believe he did that. While he was running and hiding he seemed so innocent and scared. He was also so young to be addicted to drugs and killing. I wonder what he thinks now looking back on being a soldier. What does he feel?
Ishmael somewhat reluctantly joins the army, knowing that it is the only way he can stay alive, but he begins to enjoy being a soldier and is proud of what he is doing. However, why doesn't Ishmael blame the soldiers at all for his family's death? Why is he not at all angry at the soldiers for not being there to protect his family when the rebels attacked and instead for staying at the one village, using drugs and watching movies? Would you blame the army if you were in the same situation?
I don't think that his family was at all on his mind. He was just focused on the fact that staying alive required him to become a part of the army.
The soldiers tried to protect Ishmael's village for a while and the rebels attacked his village and the villages he traveled to. He has more hatred toward the rebels than the soldiers.
I think that he looks over the point that the soldiers were not there to help his family because he is just so happy to be part of a group that seems to care about him again. This must provide a great deal of self confidence and feeling of home which is extremely reassuring after always being afraid and running from capture. I would blame the army at first, but after all the drugs and all the brainwashing of them telling me the rebels killed my parents, my focus would mostly be on killing the people responsible for my families' death.
Do politics really affect the war?
Do you think that in the long run the drugs were a benefit or a hindrance to Ishmael's well being?
The drugs were a benefit to Ishmael. He might not have survived emotionally and mentally without out the drugs which could have lead to his ultimate death. Without the drugs he would have felt more pain and thought about his lost family more.
I think that they were a benefit, because then he wouldn't focus on what was going on; like they were saying in the middle circle it was what kept him alive.
Well like Mrs. Moritz said he probably would not have survived without them. The important thing is, is that he clearly got help and got better and turned out to practically change the world. The drugs weren't a positive effect on them but in the long run he survived and lived through it.
How much damage would have to be done before the Ester and other workers would actually tell the kids it was their fault since they just kept on say its not your fault?
It seems like the facility members truly care about these children so I think they would remove themselves from the situation before they ever blamed the children. They didn't want the children to ever think it was their fault because then they may not ever rehabilitate.
Ishmaelnevr seems to feel the bullets scrape by him and hit his skin, causing bruises. Why is this?
He was on a drug high and was unable to feel the pain caused by the bullets.
Ishmael's focus on killing the rebels and the drugs he is taking distracted him from the wounds inflicted on him and any pain he felt. Though not beneficial to his health, the drugs almost made him stronger and more fearless. If he had felt the wounds, they might have slowed him down and hindered him from being able to fight and stay alive otherwise.
Also their was a lot adrenaline going through his body which could be another reason he didn't feel the bullets.
I think the drugs make him freak out less and help him to not realize the pain he is in.
Where did they get the drugs from?
From villages. People just grow weed and coke, its not that hard.
The outcome would have been entirely different. Without the drugs they would not have been able to have the energy to to keep fighting but also, without the drugs the commanders would not be able to convince the boys and tell the boys what to do as easily.
What would have been different if the boys weren't given any drugs?
They probably would have come to the sense that what they were doing is wrong...
They probably would've gone insane. Like the circle group was saying, drugs kind of puts you in a daze so you can't focus on what you're doing. If they could have registered the things they were doing, they would have probably shot themselves, run away, or shoot everyone in sight.
There may have been a lot more injuries because they would feel the pain caused by bullets. They also might have been depressed since they were killing people without the drugs to hype them up and forget about everything that they were doing.
They would have been a lot harder to turn into soldiers. The drugs put them into a different reality and they believed most things they hear, which makes them want to fight. The drugs plus the motivation turned them into good boy soldiers. Without them, it would have been almost impossible to convince them to fight.
Drugs cloud the mind and help you forget. I think this is why it's so popular among soldiers. Everything from cigarettes to heroine will help you look away from the horrible things you've done as a soldier.
I agree, drugs and alcohol have always been a way to escape reality, even outside of the war.
What did you think of Ishmael burying people alive?
It's awful, and it really affects me personally because on of my biggest fears is getting buried alive.
It was terrible. He said he was doing it for revenge but he took it too far.
This is horrible! Innocent boys like Ishmael go from innocent village boys to cruel war machines who terrorize their enemies and have no regard towards their conscience and just want to kill everything in sight.
I think it is a brutal punishment and is somewhat hypocritical of him. In the beginning, he could barely deal with the punishment he saw the rebels inflict on civilians. When he buries the rebels alive, he is inflicting the punishment he was originally disturbed by. Though it is awful, Ishmael is brainwashed by the army and has been trained only to kill the rebels, who the army has convinced him killed his family. Killing the rebels in any way possible has become his life and goal.
What's so great about being high on coke? Cocaine users often describe the euphoric feeling as:an increasing sense of energy and alertnessan extremely elevated mooda feeling of supremacyOn the other hand, some people describe other feelings tagging along with the high:irritabilityparanoiarestlessnessanxietySigns of using cocaine include:dilated pupilshigh levels of energy and activityexcited, exuberant speechCocaine's immediate effects wear off in 30 minutes to two hours. Smoking or injecting cocaine results in a faster and shorter high, compared to snorting coke.
At least it's something to ditract the boys from the fighting.
It mentioned having greater energy which could help them in the field of battle and make them want to kill
The lieutenant got them hooked on cocaine. I think that when the boys were handed the drug by that higher authority, they were excited to get attention from him. So already they were happy and then given the cocaine, it just added to the euphoria. They also liked coke because it increased their ability to kill the rebels- which is the only thing they care about.
Was it really the rebels that killed the little boy and the man or was it the soldiers just trying to convince the young men to fight? Also, did the soldiers just kill the little boy and man because they did want an example of what happened to you when you left?
It does not say anything about this in the book. The rebels could have killed the man and his child, but the army also could have killed them to scare the other villagers into joining the army and staying in a safe place instead of running to their death.
I think it was a little bit of both; that it was to show them that killing was now something that was regular and was going to happen.
When the boys were put into a competition to see who could kill a prisoner faster than the others, I was horrified that someone (the lieutenant in this example) would even ponder that idea in their mind. Killing someone should never be a competition, but then again, the boys "needed" to be trained and this one of the ways to prepare them.
Agreed, they are boys, and boys like games. I think games were a way to motivate the boys to want to kill. It wouldn't have worked with adults, but with kids, I think it was a very good idea by the lieutenant.
Cocaine produces its powerful high by acting on the brain. But as cocaine travels through the blood, it affects the whole body.Cocaine is responsible for more U.S. emergency room visits than any other illegal drug. Cocaine harms the brain, heart, blood vessels, and lungs -- and can even cause sudden death. Here's what happens in the body:Heart. Cocaine is bad for the heart. Cocaine increases heart rate and blood pressure while constricting the arteries supplying blood to the heart. The result can be a heart attack, even in young people without heart disease. Cocaine can also trigger a deadly abnormal heart rhythm called arrhythmia.Brain. Cocaine can constrict blood vessels in the brain, causing strokes. This can happen even in young people without other risk factors for strokes. Cocaine causes seizures and can lead to bizarre or violent behavior.Lungs and respiratory system. Snorting cocaine damages the nose and sinuses. Regular use can cause nasal perforation. Smoking crack cocaine irritates the lungs and, in some people, causes permanent lung damage.Gastrointestinal tract. Cocaine constricts blood vessels supplying the gut. The resulting oxygen starvation can cause ulcers, or even perforation of the stomach or intestines.Kidneys. Cocaine can cause sudden, overwhelming kidney failure through a process called rhabdomyolysis. In people with high blood pressure, regular cocaine use can accelerate the long-term kidney damage caused by high blood pressure
Do you think that many of these boys will have drug problems after the war?
Many...? How about all.
The ones that survived.
Defiantly. Think about how many drugs they took. Plus many might not want to get off the drugs or want help.
Well, after being a drug user for so long, I think the urge will always be there because they remember the euphoric feeling that the drugs gave them.
The ones who did not go to the rehabilitation camps, like Ishmael, will most likely have drug problems. I think that after the boys get out of rehabilitation they will go right back to taking drugs because they like the way it makes them feel. They will also go back to taking drugs so they don't have to think about what they did as a soldier.
In chapter 17 Ishmael questions his ability to trust anyone. He's been relying on himself to survive and prefers to be alone. He trusted the lieutenant and feels he was betrayed when the lieutenant handed over the boy soldiers to UNICEF. The nurse at the rehabilitation center, Esther, tries to gain Ishmael's friendship, but he's reluctant. Do you think that when his is given kindness all he can think to do is match it with anger and looks down upon those who cooperate?
I can imagine that Ishmael is feeling very betrayed at that point in the book because almost everyone he has ever know has left. Ishmael is not used to anyone or anything stable staying in his life for a long period of time. If he feels that someone is just playing along and being nice to him after all he has gone through, anger seems to be the best feeling that he resorts to.
Well this is how he was told to act, and the war caused EVERYONE to lose trust withing each-other. Earning it back, especially after what Ishmael had been through, is very difficult.
After the drugs are entirely washed out of his body, what exactly do you think are causing Ishmael's horrible migraines?
Probably what causes his headaches are the effects of withdrawal.
The migraines are just caused by anxiety and the use of drugs has after affects and some of them could have caused the migraines.
I'd guess probably the horrible pictures in his mind, or maybe because of his withdrawal from the drugs.
Migranes are brutal and they defintely affect your sleep habits.
If someone drinks 5 cups of coffee everyday for a year and then they stop they will probably have headaches from not having the caffeine in their body
The migraines are caused by drug withdrawal. At the moment this harms Ishmael and gives him terrible headaches, but he will thank the nurse for getting him off drugs later in his life.
The migraines Ishmael had, were seen before he was on drugs, I think they are a result of the stress the war had put on him.
After Ishmael has fully recovered from his experiences of the war, what do you suppose he will think about what he has done? Such as killing people brutally and raiding/burning villages.
I think he will have a huge burden on him but he realizes that he can't do anything about it and has to live with it for the rest of his life.
Anyone else relate this to "Kony 2012"
Predict how the difference from right and wrong will affect Ishmael after the war is over? Will the drugs become a need after he realizes what he knows? Explain.
Do you think that the soldiers gave the boys drugs to kind of "brainwash" them of their previous lives and make them forget anything good to hold onto as hope.
I think that the drugs did brainwash the boy soldiers. In Ishmaels case he did unnecessary deeds and what he believed in previously before he was a solider he went against his morality. I think that since Ishmael didn't have control over his five scenes he wasn't completely at fault for his actions but he none of the boys really had hope after being recruited to return to their families and their previous actions of not killing.
At the beginning of chapter 15, Ishmael says "My squad was my family, my gun is my provider and protector, and my rule was to kill or be killed...I felt no pity for anyone." Thoughts.
His gun is his friend. It protects him and gives him comfort. The army is definitely his secondary family. It's survival of the fittest... a sort of "free-for-all"
Its sad that he has come to think that. He thinks that he will never be able to trust any one and no one will ever be able to protect him, only him with his gun can protect him. He became too reliant on himself and thought that no one else would ever be able to help him. It seems like he would choose a gun over the company of people also.
This really explains well how much he has changed. He has forgotten a lot about his real family and now thinks the soldiers are his family. An innocent little kid running away from battle has brainwashed into a heartless monster.
It's disturbing how you an actually see Ishmael's transformation from the beginning of the book to now. He goes from just a kid who likes rap music to a cold, killing machine without empathy. .
This is what the soldiers would say about their life as a soldier. It was a motto for the soldiers and it also was probably that thought that ran through their minds as they were killing other people.
Thinking about this while not in that situation it seems upsetting and irking, but if I was put in that position I can't say exactly what I would do, but after everything that had happened I could predict that it would be something like that. After seeing so much death and trying not to think about it I don't think Ishmael quite registered everything, he was just looking out for himself in this world that's now a dog eat dog world.
I think by holding on to this motto it made it easier for Ishmael to just focus on his job and not all the suffering he had gone through and all the loss he had seen. In his mind, I believe that he thought the squad was his family because they all lived together and lived by the same exact motto; the boys had a similar goal as well: killing the men who were responsible for all the pain they had gone through. As in the case of " kill or be killed" , I imagine that Ishmael would rather risk death in order to make the people he found responsible for his nation's suffering would die, and as long as he killed some rebels his life was fulfilled.
He feels like he has nothing and has been betrayed especially by the lieutenant. He is probably afraid of where he is going and feels alone.
Since Ishmael lost his real family he had to rely on his squad to be there for him and without the war he would have nothing. He also need to stay alive to seek revenge for his real family. Also if you take pity on anyone they may turn on you stab you in the back so he had to kill everyone that wasn't fully trust him.
I honestly was not surprised when he said this. Reading everything that has already happened up until this point, Ishmael is brainwashed and will not feel any remorse for those who they kill. The drugs also have changed his way of thinking. His mind has been turned and twisted so much that for his to say this, seems pretty "normal" so to speak.
If Ismael hadn't lost his family, do you think he would have still become a boy soldier?
He probably would have been captured anyways, so no I don't think the family affects his military life.
There are so many different scenarios that could have happened. There's really no telling if he would've still become a soldier.
Probably yes. He would've had to watch them be killed as well.
I don't think he had an option unless he wanted to die.
Ismael didn't start shooting people until his two close friends were shot and killed. Do you think that the rage and sadness snapped Ishmael and allowed him to do all of the things he did? Why or why not?
Good point... If your best friend died in front of you, I would be preety upset...
After losing his true family, he became enraged and found his tent roommates as his new family. When they died he just lost control, he felt like he had nothing left and his family was his squad and his gun his protector.
Why do you think Ishmael talks about his time before and after the war more than he talks about his time in the war?
*his time being a soldier in the war
I don't think he wants to focus too much on the war. Besides, he was on drugs during that time, which affected his memories more than any nurse or hospital can fix.
Why did the lieutenant give the boys over to UNICEF?
Near the end of chapter 14, after Ishmael wins the contest for being able to slit his prisoner's throat and kill him the fastest, he says, "The boys and other soldiers who were the audience clapped as if I had just fulfilled one of life's greatest achievements." I think this statement truly summarized and displayed the brainwash of the boys to kill the rebels.
The general guy "promotes" Ishmael to boost himself up, and give him pride!
I think that one of the reasons that Ishmael was taken and not some of the other boys was because UNICEF is mainly interested in children and some were over the age of 18 which technically is no longer a child.