What is the significance of the monkey story at the end?
Ishmael is reflecting on all the suffering he had gone through, and he basically says that he would suffer in order to prevent others from having to go through that pain.
The monkey story in the end represents the sacrifices that people are sometimes forced to make in order to make their life better and others' lives better in the end. I think he tells that particular story from his childhood at the end of the book to summarize his experiences during the war. He says that he would have killed the monkey and sacrificed his mom in order to prevent the monkey from threatening to kill anybody else's parents. This represents the reasons for his going to war as a soldier and how once his family died, he focused on avenging their deaths and killing the rebels to prevent them from killing others' families. I think it is also his justification for leaving his uncle's family and going to America to improve his life and educate people on the war in order to put an end to it.
How does Ishmael participating in the talent show at the center represent his healing?
It shows how he returning to his old self before the war and how he is becoming a kid again.
I think it gives a glimpse into Ishmael's past. It shows that he has moved past the war somewhat and has given his life a purpose, no matter how small.
I think it represents him going back to his old life. Because at the beginning of the book he is traveling to participate in a talent show and I think this represents him going back to his old life and how things were before his time as a soldier. It shows that the healing process is working.
I just think that it shows the growth and happiness that he know presents that he didn't have before.
His participation in the talent show is also very important because it UN and UNICEF leaders to choose him to come with them, and this helps him become a leader and speaker about the war.
In chapter 18 Ishmael meets his uncle who he will later be living with. Could you live with someone you never met?
I think from a point of desperation as Ishmael was in, I would live with someone I had never met because I know at least they are a safe home and something that will not leave me.
It would be hard, but knowing that they're family would definitely spark at least a little bit of a connection between them.
He didn't go to live with his uncle right away. Before Ishmael went to live with his uncle, his uncle came and visited with Ishmael, until he found completely comfortable. Also, I think it might be nice to have people around you that care about you, but not living in that environment for a long time would make it hard to adjust to that.
As accepting and kindhearted his uncle was i'm sure he felt comfortable. And it is completely different where he lives then opposed to wear we live. Also I think he just wanted a family and a place to sleep and eat and he got his opportunity.
I just think that having someone that showed such affectation and love for him is a great surprise and is also a relief. He now knows that he has a caretaker that will love him.
I did not like the way it ended. I wanted to know how he got to New York and how he liked it. I wanted to see how we would get used to the United States and if he would go to school or what.
I definitely wanted to see his transitions to the United States as well. I mean I guess it is kinda of a given as to what might have happened when he got there, but same I wanted more details of what he did and how he lived.
I think Ishmael wanted the story to mainly be about his experiences in the war, and his healing after, not as much about what happened when he was in the US, although I also wanted to know how his life was in the US.
Without Esther and the relationship he had with her, would Ishmael have trusted her enough to get through the rehabilitation and find his uncle?
Without Esther Ishmael would not have fully recovered. She pushed him to not give up and gave him hope for a brighter and better future, and she used his music to help him recover. Ishmael would have gave up without the help of Esther.
I think Esther was the first person he actually began to trust, and he needed her as a stepping stone to go down that road to learn to trust again. Esther helped Ishmael learn to live again which in turn helped him find and learn to trust his uncle.
Without Esther, Ishmael would not have been able to learn to trust others. Esther gave him hope and was like a life line after everything he has been through pulling him out of his despair and pain from his awful war memories
I believe that Ishmael's uncle helped Ishmael fully recover from the war, what would have happened if he wasn't there?
I do not think Ishmael would have found any other family to take him in, so he would have lived through many foster homes or possibly be sent back to the front of the war.
I think Ishmael would have progressed a little slower because knowing he had a family that he didn't know about, and knowing that they would take him in was a motivation to heal a little quicker.
If Ishmael had not found and lived with his uncle, I think he would have continued to feel that there is nothing left for him to live for. His uncle made him realize that he has family left who cares for him and wants him to be alive. He also helped him feel joy once again. Without him, Ishmael most likely would have stayed in the rehabilitation center and returned to the war, once it hit the city.
What do you guys think about Laura and Ishmael's new home?
I think it is great that Ishmael gets the chance to live outside Sierra Leone and actually see the world outside of the war which gives him a fresh start in a new place with people he trusts.
Beah's ending to A Long Way Gone was powerful, as he said that through all he had gone through he would have suffered himself to prevent others from having to go through such pain.
I wonder how Ishmael got from the embassy in Conakry, Guinea to New York City. How did he get money for the flight? Did Laura send money to him at the embassy?
The UNICEF people probably provided him with the money.
Look at the acknowledgments at the end. I think it gives a little more explanation.
That's what I'm wondering too. Ishmael leaves that out when he writes this most likely Laura sent money to help him with his flights.
What could the analogy of war and shooting the monkey mean?
How do the rap cassettes effect Ishmael's view on NY?
Because of the cassette tapes, Ishmael thought that New York was a bad and dangerous place to go. He thought that the entire city is rotten, but finds out that is not the case when he gets there for the conference.
He thought that New York was a place where people killed other people on the streets. He was anxious when he got there but once he realized what a beautiful place it was, he couldn't get enough of it.
He goes into NY feeling like it will be a place of crime, and all of these ideas that he got from the music. Although when he enters NY he realizes that it is a much different place than the music said it was.
He thought that New York was all bad and dangerous to be there, but when he got there he was amazed and realized it was a great place in many ways. The music focused on the bad things sometimes and made him think that it was all bad.
How would you feel if a relative you never met started calling you son and take you in as a son and let you live at his house. Would you welcome a new father figure or reject him?
I think it would just take time for me to welcome a new father figure. I would at first probably reject him although over time I would welcome him into my life.
I personally would reject him at first as he is a new person in my life, and my entire family had recently died. However, after a while, I think I would start to welcome the feeling of home and pride from my uncle. I would love the feeling of belonging to someone and somewhere again.
I would more than likely reject a new father figure, especially if I had no clue who he was and have never met before. If it was the last thing on Earth or my life at stake, I would choose to have a new fatherly figure.
I would welcome him but I would have a hard time trusting him. It would be hard to adapt to a new family but if they welcomed me with open arms after everything i have been through I would try to welcome them into my life too
This is kind of like when a child's parents get divorced, and the mom gets remarried. If that happened to you, would you consider him your father? Or call him dad? Because I definitely wouldn't. No matter how much of a father figure someone is, they will never be your real dad.
I feel it would take a little time for me to truly feel like apart of another family, but once I feel comfortable I would accept the new family, and feel very blessed that I had another family.
Do you agree with Ishmeal’s idea on revenge? Is it just an ongoing process that will just keep hurting more people?
Unless one side backs down, revenge will keep going and going and going.
I do agree because revenge is ongoing it is a huge circle that no one can get out of
Who or what was the most influential in Ishmael’s rehabilitation?
I think it was Esther. Esther gave Ishmael unconditional love similar to a family sister. I think this changes Ishmael's point of view on life and causes him to move past the war. She gives him a reason to move forward in his life.
I agree. I believe Esther was a major influence on Ishmael's rehabilitation. Esther was the first person who found a way to communicate with Ishmael, and made Ishmael feel comfortable enough to talk and to begin his healing process.
Esther was most influential. She cared for him even when he let his anger take over and she helped him recover by using music Ishmael liked.
I agree. It was Esther because she taught him that it was okay to confide in people and trust them. She also listened to his stories and was the first to make him believe that everything that happened was not his fault.
If some relative that you have never heard of, seen, or met before took you in, would you embrace him/her? Or would you dwell on the fact that they are not as good as your parents?
Camden--do not post all of your questions at once.
If Ishmael had rejoined the army or had been captured, can you predict what would have happened next?
He wouldn't have been able to handle it again. I think he would've suffered through too much and would accept death.
Ishmael could not make it through that torture. I mean if he had the drugs maybe he would have become a fine solider again but he could never recover after that. He just made it through the first round and that was hard he could not recover because he would blame everything on himself
What are your thoughts on the following quote, how is it significant to the rest of the story and the uprising of the rebels once again? “After I left the center, Mambu went back to the front lines, because his family refused to take him back.” pg 180 paragraph 3
That made me very sad. The UNICEF rehabilitated the child soldiers, but didn't do much to ensure their futures after rehabilitation. But I guess UNICEF doesn't have infinite money.
Ishmael had someone to go back to and someone who would take him back despite everything he did, but seeing these other people who didn't get that chance I think it might have helped in his healing. He probably thinks"It could have been worse"
I thought that was awful., His family wanted him before the war but now they just gave up on him after he went through all that rehabilitation wanting to go home like every child wants. To just have his family totally reject him.
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Chapter 19 is significant because, for the first time, Ishmael wants to tell his story rather than choosing silence. He's frustrated with how little the outside world understands about the civil war in Sierra Leone. But why do you think he wants everyone to know what happened in Sierra Leone, knowing that they would see and hear about all the terrible things he did?
He probably wants to lift the burden of being the only person in America that knows about the experiences that he went through. He obviously wants to stop the war as well which also contributes to the writing of this book.
I believe that Ishmael wants to tell everyone his story because he didn't realize that other boys also went through what he went through. Ishmael's perspective might have been skeptical of others who didn't know what he had lived through. To him being a boy soldier might be seen as someone no one could trust and they are simply murderers.
Ishmael wants everyone else to know what was happening in the war, so everyone can understand. He may also be telling people about it so they can use their new knowledge to make efforts to help stop the war. Without Ishmael's influence when speaking, a lot less people would know about the horrors of wars there. People cannot help an effort that they don't know about.
I think Ishmael want to raise awareness for whats happening in Sierra Leone, because he was shocked at little knowledge people had of the war outside of Sierra Leone.
What do you think was the reason for Ishmael's uncle crying when this is the first time that he has met his nephew? He doesn't even know that this kid is actually his nephew.
Well when the people found his uncle they told him Ishmael's whole story. And then seeing your nephew standing in front of you alive, knowing what he went through would set him over the top. Anyone would cry.
Assuming most people have aunts or uncles, would you live with a total stranger even if they were family?
I would if I had nothing else. After going through what Ishmael did, I think he just wanted something that could connect to happier times such as his childhood.
If I had nothing else...yes!
However, Ishmael said he has done better off alone.
If I knew my family was killed in the war and my uncle or aunt offered to take me in I would take up that offer. If I did not live with them, I would be lost and alone having to find a house and work endlessly for small amounts of food.
I think I would but I am surprised that Ishmael left the rehabilitation center so willingly. It seems like Ishmael has formed a family of his own with his friends. Like Ishmael, I would much rather go with my Uncle than a stranger though.
@luke it is always easier to have someone like an adult to lean on and help support you. It is very hard to last a long time alone as a kid. He needed a more reliable home.
I would I mean they are offering a home to me. And they promise to love me and take care of me and I had nothing to go back to I would look forward and try to trust them
Was I the only one that expected this book to end poorly?
When I saw that the civil war had come to Ishmael again I was starting to think that ,even though he was avoiding the conflict as much as possible, he would be caught again like when the army caught him in the jungle.
I thought that it was going to end poorly and I thought everything was going to be wrapped up. But I liked how he ended it with a story and how he didn't tell us everything.
When the war reached him again for a second time, I immediately thought that something very bad was about to happen to Ishmael. As I got closer to the end, I thought of where he is now and realized his story had a semi-happy ending.
Why do you think Ishmael can't let anyone in to his past?
This could just be me, but maybe he's afraid of what others may think. I can connect to that feeling.
Ishmael thought it was better to let go of the past and not let his anger about his family and other tragedies control his emotions and allow him to hurt others out of anger, so he keeps it to himself and tries not to think about it too much.
Ishmael doesn't want to think about the war and the terrible things he saw.
Ishmael does not want anyone to know everything that he went through. He doesn't want to let anyone into his past because he does not want to look back on it himself and see all that he did during the war. Ishmael also does not want anyone to know with fear that they won't except him
Do you believe that the war in Freetown is less brutal than the war in the villages?
War is War...
It seems as though it is. It doesn't seem like the soldiers are quite as ruthless as they were in some of the villages.
I think that the two wars are equal,but each has parts that made it worse. In the villages, people were killed in violent ways, houses burned, young boys becoming soldiers and young girls sex slaves. This war was also a little longer than the ones in larger cities. The one in Freetown was more unexpected than the village attacks, and it seemed that it was more violent. The book tells of a crowd of protesters being shot down by soldiers. The soldiers act the same way they did in the villages in Freetown, but Freetown was more surprising and more died.
If Ishmael's Uncle had lived do you think Ishmael would have still left for New York?
He would, because his plans were already set to go to New York even before his uncle died. I just don't think that he could stand the chances of being forced to be a child soldier again. He just had to get away.
I actually don't know because he was so afraid of getting pulled back into the war but with his uncle dying I think it set him over the top. He just wanted to start over and get away from what was hurting him the most.
How do you think Ishmael felt while writing this book? How painful was it to recount his exploits in the war?
He waited about 10 years... so I mean it probably sunk in by then
I think that some of the writing may have been a pain, but it also was a relief to tell his experiences so he can talk to other people about his life. Before he wrote the book he probably felt a severe sense of loneliness because he was the only one that knew how he felt.
Ishmael probably felt awful while reliving the terrible things he did during the war, but he wanted to get the word out of what happened in Sierra Leone. So with that said, the depressed feelings he might have felt were cast over by determination to show the world what happened.
After escaping the war and moving in with his uncle, the war comes back to his new home and said he would not be able to live through another war. How do you think he feels about the war finding him after he went through rehab?
I think he feels completely frustrated. He says that he loses everything that is important to him and this is just another example. I think this is the reason why he wants to move to New York. He started to believe that nothing in Sierra Leone can be sustained.
I think this is his worst nightmare at this point. He worked so hard to heal, and to overcome his past, and then to have it all just come crumbling down would be terrible.
You can't forget that UNICEF and the other organizations are NGO's (non governmental organization) and they do not receive money from the government, only from donations and charity
Do you think Beah felt extreme remorse at the prospect of evading war once again by leaving for New York even though he left all his family and friends behind, or do you think he was more relieved that he had actually escaped?
Yes, he had to be. He didn't want to become a soldier again and eventually die.
He did say he wouldn't survive another war. I think he was relieved that the civil war and the R.U.F. are thousand of miles away. Also the man who took him in, his uncle passed away so maybe he did not want to lose anyone else he loved.
I don't think he felt guilty about leaving Sierra Leone. He didn't really have anyone he was leaving behind, except Mohamed and his aunt and cousins, who he didn't live with for long anyway. I think Ishmael was completely fed up with his country and ready to leave.
Both. He was grateful to get out and very relieved to escape everything that has happened to but he felt bad for his family. He didn't want to leave Mohammed but it was there choice that they decided to stay there and he couldn't change there mind
Why didn't Ishmael's uncle believe that he was going to the US?
It was a sense of false hope. He didn't want Ishmael to be let down and disappointed.
I think his uncle believed that there was no way out of the country. Also, his uncle most likely had never been out of the country, so he can not even imagine another land except the one he has always known.
At a time of such crisis, it may have become hard to believe that anyone could leave the country. Since the government did not encourage people to leave, not too many people tried, and the ones who did usually did not get very far.
I think it was because the chances are very small that he would be picked out of all those kids and go to U.S. and speak about how the war hurt the children and how to stop it. The Uncle didn't believe it because the chances were very small
Why would people donate to the UNICEF when they know all the child soldiers had done and the crimes they had committed? How would you feel if your spare money is paying to help children who tortured and murdered others in cold blood?
I think that the money that you give to UNICEF is going towards the rehabilitation of these children. It isn't about these kids being murders it is about them recovering from the previous situation.
I think that since they are children and were basically brainwashed into doing all those terrible things, there is a part in peoples hearts that broke for these kids. People are quick to forgive children no matter what "bad" thing they did. I think they just genuinely felt bad for these kids and wanted to help them, not really caring about what they did.
I think propaganda that the UNICEF wouldn't give the whole story of the kids and would promote the fact that these children went through a civil war and that they are in need of rehabilitation instead of telling the crimes they committed. If my family were in a situation where we donated money for a boy soldier I think we would stop donating. I also believe that if there was a boy soldier guest speaker for the people donating there money it would clarify that it wasn't a choice for them to join the army.
Video Games (in my opinion) do not make kids/teens violent. If you have sense and understamd the game, then it should not effect you. Movies, and TV are what hurt kids...
Is there really that big of a difference between video games that are violent, and movies that are violent?
I agree, most kids/teens know that video games are fake. Although music and movies are more realistic so that might influence them more because they seem much more like real life.
I think video games aren't that much different than movies. If you think about video games are becoming more and more like tv and I think violent video games would effect kids and teen just as much
In most civil wars relatives are split on the decision of what side to take, in a theoretical situation do you think that if Ishmael's uncle and his family were involved with the rebels would his uncle take him in even though they were on opposing sides? Explain.
No, I think that his uncle would be disgusted that his own family had killed people on the Rebel side which his uncle would have grown to love as a second family as Ishmael learned to love the Army. I think the two being from different sides would have formed an extreme hatred between them.
When the rebels took over the capitol, what kind of feelings were felt inside of Ishmael? Did he feel like it was a sense of deja vu from his first experience of war?
He was scared. He didn't want to get pulled back into the army but he didn't want to do. He said something about everyone around him dying but why not him? Especially after all he had been through.
I think he was more frustrated than anything. He was determined not to become a boy soldier again after his rehab.
Deja vu is actually a really good way to put it. It gave him flashbacks because he knew what could happen.
Ishmael says he felt that he was reliving his experiences of the war. It was bringing back memories of his career as a soldier, and he was not only scared that he would run in to his former friends but angry that he had run so far from it just to meet it again. However, he was able to use his knowledge and experiences from the war to survive. For example, he knew it was safer to travel at night in order to be able to see the bullets in the air.
When Ishmael attends the UN Conference in New York, he meets people who risked their lives or walked hundreds of miles to be able to board a plane to go to the conference. If you had been through the same, horrific experiences as these children, would you risk your life to attend the conference and educate the world about your country's dilemma?
If you had intent to do right, then yes. I would risk my life forsomething I believe in and love (family, friends, girlfriend, etc).
Yes because then their story became known and they could get better help from a country that has so many tings and could benefit and help other countries. Also it would be a good break to leave the country and forget about everything.
What do you think happened to Ishmael once he got to New York? He obviously got back on his feet and became successful. But imagine the first few months in a different country, how would you feel?
He might feel a little lost, but I think he was ready to start a new part of his life, and tell about his past and help others who went through the same things. But it would take a while for him to become comfortable with this new lifestyle.
I believe he started fast, spreading the word to stop child soldiers. I would feel awkward if I were him but I would also be compelled to stop other young kids from going through the terrors I went through.
I think Ishmael's uncle gave Ishmael hope, he was related to his father, which connected back to his childhood.
When Ishmael says " If I am going to take revenge, in that i process I will kill another person whose family will want revenge." How does this represent the change that Ishmael had undergone from the brain-washed boy soldier, to what he has become now.
What do you think happened to Mambu after he went back to the front lines? Why do you think his relatives refused to take him in?
The family rejected him out of fear or disappointment. They thought he might attack like he did in the war or they could not forgive him because he joined the army and killed innocent people. I think Mambu died in the front lines, but in his mind that is better than living alone and being rejected by his own family.
I think they were probably scared that he could never recover and was always going to be a soldier and were being selfish when they wouldn't let him stay.
How do you think Ishmael felt after meeting others who have gone through tragedies like the civil war? Did this help him recover?
You can kind of relate it to a rehab center... People with the same problem come to together to help each other out.
By having a conference with other kids that were in hard situations, do you think this helped reassure Ishmael that he is one of the only kids who was going through these hard things?
Yes, it showed Ishmael that he is not alone. Which in the eyes of many (includng me) helps a lot with self esteem.
Of course! This was another big part of his healing. Without knowing others had the same things happen to them, Ishmael was thinking that he was a terrible person for killing people and doing the things he had done, but knowing that other wen through this helps him believe that it wasn't his fault.
I think since Ishmael had already fought and survived the war, it helped him survive yet again when the army and rebels attacked Freetown. I found it extremely admirable that he risked his life to receive food for a family he hardly knew.
Well, he also needed the food for himself.
I agree that must have took extreme courage for Ishmael to do that. Ishmael probably felt like he owed that family a debt for taking care of him.
Since he had already been through it before, I think he was more prepared. He reacted quickly by running and jumping int eh ditch with Mohamed. He also reacted differently by helping the family get food. The last time rebels attacked, he didn't help anyone and watched them die. Maybe he felt bad about that, so he made an effort to help the family instead of only watching out for himself.
Could Ishmael have continued on schooling and been able to bear through being hated and scared of if Mohamed was not with him?
I do not think Ishmael would have been able to bear being hated throughout school without someone to support and and someone who he could talk to and relate to. Without Mohamed, Ishmael would not have been able to bear shcool.
I am not sure. It is so sad that these boys had to endure loss and are also persecuted because of this. "We had not only lost our childhood in the war but our lives had been tainted but the same experiences that still caused us great pain and sadness" Ismael p.202
How do you feel about Ishmael not knowing how the elevator worked?
I thought that was hilarious. But I also realized that they had no technology in his country, so then I kind of felt bad.
It shows how isolated he was from the modern day.It's amazing that he has gone from not knowing how an elevator worked, to using a webcam or using a computer to send Heritage that video of himself.
I think it was a real awakener because since a young age, I have known how to work an elevator, and I completely take it for granted every time. It was shocking that a 16 year old boy did not know how to work one and much less know what it even was. It showed that we take things for granted when others have never even heard of devices such as elevators.
I thought it was pretty funny, but it also makes sense because there are no elevators in Sierra Leone. It just shows how poor the country is.
I thought it added a little but of humor and it also made people realize how different Sierra Leone and New York are compared to each other. New York has all this technology and Sierra Leone is still building, cooking, teaching etc.. without any new technology.
Why do you think Ishmael used flash-forwards and flash-backs to help tell his story?
I think he just wanted to present his story his own way, not necessarily chronological order. Obviously this book is non-fiction, but I think he wanted to present it as if it were fiction. I am still astounded that this is a true story.
They also helped explain the story and what he was going through better. It helped me understand the immense change that he went through so quickly.
Do you think that when he went to the first dance did that stir up feelings of wanting to live like a normal kid, and the want to have a better life? Did this also make Ishmael want to go to New York after the rebels had taken over?
First off, dances are overrated. Second, Ishmael felt alone, like many kids do today. But I do believe it gave him a sense of "normalcy"
He is trying really hard to lead a normal life and forget his past, but he knows it will never go away. He wants to be normal, wants to have his family, friends, a true home in his village, etc, but he never can again. He has to replace the life he had with the one he has now. I think he wants to go to New York and try to not only get away from the rebels, but start over entirely.
Ishmael's rehabilitation is fueled by hope in chapter 18. He begins reaching out to his uncle and accepting the future he's offering. He feels fortunate to have found family he didn't know he had, and their kindness connects him with the happy childhood that was stolen from him. Ishmael seems more stable now, and his violence and anger are subsiding. Do you think had he not gone to his uncle, would he have not gotten to the point he was at the end emotionally?
I think his uncle and his family gave Ishmael a home again which is extremely hard to replace especially after the loss of his direct family and the only home he had ever known. His uncle's home gave him somewhere to belong again after all the uncertainty he had lived through running place to place in fear; that feeling must have been unimaginable.
How do you think you would feel if you had gone through what Ishmael had, and then be taken away from the war, and put through rehabilitation, and healing, and finally getting better, to have an outbreak in the city and think that the war and your involvement in the war might not be over
To be honest, if I was in his situation I probably would not want to live anymore. I'm shocked that Ishmael did not commit suicide.
I would feel like I had been in this situation before, and I would be angry because I would not want to enter the same situation that I had worked so hard to escape from.
I would be so terrified and my hopes would be crushed because the war even got to Freetown. I'd be doubtful that the war would ever end.
When the new government comes into power, Ishmael says the army and the rebels joined forces to oust the civilian government. He worries that he will see his former military friends and that they will kill him if he refuses to rejoin the war. Do you think his friends who are still in the war would really kill him if they encountered him in the streets? Also, if he had stayed in Freetown, would he have been as lucky to survive the war again?
His friends would probably have shot him dead. It's like a gang, the only way out is death. And I believe that Ishmael made the right choice by leaving Freetown and saving his life.
I believe if his old military friends saw him they would immediately take him in and Ishmael would become the child soldier he was in a short amount of time.
How do you think Ishmael felt on the plane to the United States? He had never been out of the country or on a plane before. Can you imagine how he must have been feeling?
I think Ishmael was concerned about coming to completely new country and not knowing anyone, but I think he was also excited to have a new life away from the R.U.F. and the civil war.
I bet he was overwhelmed and probably scared/nervous since he thought New York was such a horrible place.
Ishmael probably felt immensely happy about finally getting away from everyone and everything in Sierra Leone, but also fear. Fear about what was waiting for him in the United States, what will happen when he is in the US, how will people react to him such as his uncle. He probably had all these emotions. I think Ishmael just wanted to start his new life.
Can you connect any events in the book to events in our past or present?
I find it curious that Ishmael doesn't talk about why his mother and father separated. Why doesn't he?
Maybe it brings back bad memories or he just doesn't want to think about them if they're dead.
Maybe it's irrelevant to the story. Maybe he doesn't know why they separated because it happened when he was so young.
I don't think that his mother and father separating had anything to do with Ishmael's life as a boy soldier. It is just irrelevant which is why he left it out of the book.
He probably doesn't know why. Perhaps his father just moved on to another wife and forgot about Ishmael's mother.
Just like how Ishmael does not discuss the rest of his past he does not want to discuss tragedies back home and this is one of those.
Do you think group therapy (like Ishmael and the other boys) or one-on-one therapy is more effective?
I think group therapy would be more effective, because they can talk about similar experiences together because they have all gone through them. Although one on one therapy doesn't quite have the same connections and shared experiences.
One on one therapy has less distractions which allows you to focus and poor out all of you troubles to someone. With a group you have other people there which may cause you not to open up yourself more than you would one on one.
I think one-on-one therapy is much more effective. All the boys were involved in the same war, but they all played different roles and reacted to their situation differently. They also have different personalities. In fact, I think one of the problems with all militaries is that they expect all the soldiers to unify as one and behave the same all the time.
(based on personal experience) One on one therapy can be hard on a kid. All these questions beeing thrown at you. You begin to believe that something is wrong woth you after multiple visits to the therapist. You feel like the guy/girl asking the questions is judging you, and it hurts. I believe group therapy is better, because you can hear other people's stories, which makes you feel better.
I think in the short term, group therapy would be effective, so the boys could see that they are not the only ones dealing with the same feelings of regret, loss, hatred, etc. However, one-on-one therapy would be more effective in the long run as the boys could truly delve into their personal experiences and work through their problems in the way that helps them best.
What cultural differences and similarities do you see from American culture and their culture as soon as Allie takes Ishmael dancing? Do you believe that Ishmael would act differently if he was raised with an American mentality? Yes or no and why?
The United States is an incredibly fortunate country. We have so many luxuries that other countries do not have. A man form Uganda, Ben, came here and was shocked at how we could play music from Uganda on our devices. Our school is bigger than some villages in Uganda. That change is different.
What impact does the principal of the rehabilitation center have on Ishmeal?
He saved his life.
Well it obviously helped him, even though it was very rough at first it helped him for the better and made him the person he is today.
If Ishmael had not gone to the conference would he have been open enough to write the book?
Probablynot, the UN conference allows Ishmael to see that there are other people out there facing the same problems, allowing him to open up and later writing A Long Way Gone
In chapter 18, Ishmael says to his uncle, "'I think my troublesome days are long gone.'" I think this represents how much the war changed him and how he was forced to grow up so much in such a short amount of time. It is sad that he, along with so many other boys, lost their entire childhood to the war. They lost their families and the ability to feel joy. All they knew for a long time was the violence and killing of the war, which gave them severe mental repercussions, such as PTSD, nightmares, migraines, and more, all of which children should never have to experience.
What would be your thoughts on coming from a city of almost total darkness except from candles and fires such as in Sierra Leone to the millions of twinkling lights in New York City that never turn off?
I thought one of the worst parts of these chapters was the way that the kids treated Ishmael at school. The terrible things that Ishmael had to live through also caused him to endure additional prejudice from the school kids. What was your reaction?