Thursday, November 21, 2013

Fishbowl #4: A Long Way Gone, Chapters 11-14

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(A) Bring at least one quotation and/or page reference into at least one of your responses.
(B) Explain your thinking thoughtfully and thoroughly (try to avoid the one-sentence response).

(C) Keep it professional, including the usage of proper grammar and spelling.

(D) Comment frequently from the beginning of the conversation to the end.


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Enjoy!

182 comments:

  1. Why cocaine and gun powder? like why would they mix it with gun powder what is the point in that? Also why cocaine, when you could have any other drug why cocaine?

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    1. Cocaine is a stimulant, and as you see in the beginning of chapter 14, it keeps the boys awake. This is useful to the government as it allows the boys to fight longer. It also makes them 'impervious' to pain. At least until they come down from the high.

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    3. Cocaine is a drug that makes you very energetic for a short period of time. In my knowledge I don't think there is any other drug that makes you numb and impervious to pain. The gunpowder just gets you even more over the edge crazy like on page 121 he says,"I began to perspire so much that i ahd to take my clothes off....my body shook and my hearing wasn't there for several minutes."

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    4. I believe that it was cocaine because it is an easily obtainable drug and also people are easily addicted to it. So as they fight with the drugs in there system, they will soon become slaves to the military as shown in chapter 13 when Ishmael says "The corporal and the lieutenant came in afterward and took me outside. I was sweating, and they threw water on my face and gave me a few more of the white capsules... We went out two more times that week and I had no problem shooting my gun." The gun powder part really does not make too much sense but it might be a way to make the cocaine last longer or to give it a kick.

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  2. How do you think Ishmael feels about killing all these people?

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    2. At this point in time, only the first killing affected him. His intake of drugs have made Ishmael unaware of himself. It has made him feel like an outsider to his actions.

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    3. I think Ishmael feels so degraded by the fact that he is responsible for killing all these people. Ishmael must also be questioning his integrity and overall morality as a person. But we have to keep in mind that he is on many harmful drugs that alter his state on mind, which could effect the may he felt about killing these people.

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    4. I think that Ishmael doesn't really feel about killing these people They make him take the drugs which desensitizes himself from the killing. Also the fact that he wants revenge on the rebels for what they did to his family and all the people that he loved.

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    5. I believe that the killing that Ishmael is doing is wrong to him but that morality has been clouded out by the ideas of the rebels killing their families and that he needs to survive. These ideas could easily make it so Ishmael doesn't feel bad about killing the people. Also the drugs that he is taking can increase these feelings of anger towards the rebels and also just lead to him feeling a rush of the drugs and making the killing "acceptable" in his mind

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    6. I don't think he does feel. To be totally honest I think that the drugs and the type of brain washing they are doing is totally clouding his judgement and changing him. He is taking this drug and he is just angry and this combination isn't probably the best, it is probably clouding him so much that he doesn't even really care all too much about what he's doing more as just occasionally questioning his judgement.

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  3. On page 89 when the boys are all crying, why doesn't Ishmael sit with the boys or want to show that he is crying?

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    1. He doesn't want to show fear. The boys are crying and Ishmael wants to be brave and doesn't want everyone to think he is weak.

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    2. Because it seems like there is sort of a pecking order between the boys. Crying shows weakness as well as strength, it just depends on how you look at it.

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    3. I agree with Lindsey. I think all the boys show their fear in different ways and so I think Ishmael would rather be alone and not show that he is weak and crying by having all the others see his tears. Also, I think the others are similar and he would rather leave them alone.

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  4. Why do you think the boys do drugs so often? Is it a way to escape their thoughts and pain?

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    1. I think that it makes them cloudy. Drugs might make it easier to kill and not feel guilty about it, especially for children.

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    2. I think the boys do drugs because it gives them a sense of relief and relaxation during this time of stress and violence. Especially as young boys it would be very difficult to have to kill as much as they have been killing and not be with there family so the drugs are used to take away mental pain and forget about the violence in that moment.

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    3. I think that it is a way that the leaders brainwash the boys. They show them how to use drugs and make them think it's cool, until they get addicted. Then, once they get addicted, they rely on the leaders to give them their drugs and they are never fully focused while they are addicted, which makes them accept the violence better.

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    4. I think they often do drugs so they can ease the pain they are receiving. It may also be like what music used to be to them. It is a way to forget about everything that is happening and to dull all the pain and suffering going on in the war.

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    5. I think that the boys do a lot of drugs because it is a way for them to temporarily escape their thoughts and problems. There is so much pain that they are having to go through emotionally and physically and the drugs are probably the only thing that makes them feel okay for a short period of time and they are probably desperate for a good feeling.

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    6. The boys take drugs so often because they build an addiction to it. After a while the drugs make life better than how it is in reality and many of those kids would rather not go back to. For instance Ishmael has extremely bad headaches but with the drugs the pain is suppressed and he can feel better about what he has done

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    7. The drugs were given to them by the soldiers, and they then became addicted from taking them all the time. I think it also makes them feel like they belong and as Ishmael said on page 124 "I stood there holding my gun and felt special because I was part of something that took me seriously and I was not running from anyone anymore." The drugs are a part of the way they are now living.

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    8. The drugs are a way for the boys to escape the pain and suffering they are going through. The boys have become addicted to the drugs and at this point they don't know how to go without the drugs. Also the soldiers have given the drugs to them so it may even make them feel that they aren't hurting themselves but actually helping themselves by taking them.

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    9. I agree with the using drugs to dealing with all the pain but I also think that its desensitizing them so the idea of killing all these people doesn't seem so bad. Put yourself in their situation taking the pain and the fear away instead of him having to deal with all those feelings yourself.

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  5. I feel like gun powder would be really bad for you and would mess with your head. Do you think the drugs would help the soldiers or hurt them?

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    1. I think there is long term and short term effects of the drugs. The long term effects are that it will really hurt his body because as you said gunpowder is really unhealthy. The short term effects are the fact that he feels a false sense of happiness that carries him through the battles and desensitizes himself to the killing.

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    2. I think that the drugs are their to help the soldier's fighting and emotion but are bad physically. This would keep them coming back to the drugs for the relief of pain and with this, the Military is easily able to control and manipulate the kids to their advantage. So it is short term good but in the long term very hurtful to the kid's bodies.

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  6. Does Ishmael wish that he had died instead of his friends in Chapter 13?

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    1. I don't think that he wishes that he would have died instead. If anything he wishes he would have died with them. Or he just misses them and wishes that they hadn't have died.

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  7. On page 122 Ishmael says, "The idea of death didn't cross my mind at all and killing had become as easy as drinking water". This shows how messed up Ishmael has become, and raises the question, do you see any differences between the rebel soldiers and the Government soldiers in the way that they act?

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    1. There is no difference. The government has lowered itself to the same level as the rebels. It has become a war of children.

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    2. There is supposed to be a difference; the army soldiers are fighting for their country, so it is supposed to justify their actions. However, they are committing the same actions as the rebels, so really there is no difference. It is all cruel and brutal ways of violence.

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    3. I agree with Joseph. The government is equally as corrupt as the rebellion. They both use child soldiers and in itself that is the lowest an army can get in my opinion. Additionally, both armies have questionable motives. It's hard to really see what each side wants to gain out of the fighting, and it seems like they both are just fighting for the sake to fight.

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    4. I think that they believe they are different people but the level the government has stooped down to is the exact same level the rebels have been at. By pulling in children as their soldiers to fight their battles shows how sick they are and how desperate they are.

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    5. While the government feels justified in fighting back, it doesn't make a difference. Killing is killing. They can argue that its okay because they are doing it to protect themselves. But by taking the same actions as the rebels there isn't a difference.

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  8. In chapters 13 and 14 you really see how the boys have lost all their innocence. They are being forced to kill and eventually don't even flinch at the sight of any violence, they cheer for it, as shown on pages 123-125, where they slit the rebels throats. These chapters have become increasingly violent also, and I wonder if Ishmael ever regrets what he has done in the back of his mind during this war.

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    1. I feel that Ishmael is influenced by his surrounding, and on too many drugs to feel bad about what he is doing and what is happening. However, I think once he gets off drugs and goes to America, these memories are going to haunt him.

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  9. The idea and importance of nature is effecting Ishmael's journey. He spends his afternoons walking and feels as if the moon is a companion along his journey. Why do you think that is true?

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    1. I would say the moon is a companion to Ishmael because the moon is something that has always been there, its like the one constant in this crazy life.

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    2. The moon is the one constant in Ishmael's life. He knows that every night he can look up and see the moon. The moon will follow him everywhere he goes and he can always see it. They can't take the moon away from him. The moon sheds light on the darkness of the night and makes the night a little less scary. How would Ishmael react if one night he looked up and the moon wasn't there?

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  10. On page 104, Julius Caesar in mentioned, what is the importance of this?

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    1. He was just trying to find out what the guy was reading. Then when he found out he started a conversation about it.

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    2. On page 104 it states "A coward dies many times before their deaths..." I think this was mentioned because it is a way of representing Ishmael's journey. Many times Ishmael has experienced a negative "speed bump" in the road on his journey which in this case is being related to a death. Many times Ishmael experience pain, suffering, loneliness, fear and many other things that would be considered as a death along the road of his journey but he hasn't died, he may have experienced something close to it or many bumps in the road but he isn't dead yet.

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  11. On page 108 the lieutenant says "They have lost everything that makes them human." After seeing the acts that Ishmael and the soldiers on his side have done, are they still more human than the rebels?

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    1. Well no but Ishmael is fighting for his family that's what he takes out his anger on is fighting. The drugs they take make them almost robot like.

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  13. If Ishmael's family was still alive, do you think that he would fall in the hands of the rebels and become a boy soldier? Why or why not?

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  14. "One side of the sky was completely blue, and the other was filled with stagnant clouds." p.90. How do you think this quote fore-shadows the events that are about to happen?

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    1. I never thought of this quote that, way but now I see that it symbolizes what lies ahead. Behind them is the light blue, clear sky before the war. Ahead in the clouds, lies the war and their struggles. The in between, the gray area, where they do what they can to survive, even if they don't feel it's right.

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    2. I think this shows that it isn't over yet, and worse is possibly yet to come. There's still more to go through. To me it is telling the boys to not let their guards down.

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  15. On page 94 Ishmael describes that some of the dead bodies faces were stuck in the same way they were when they were waiting to be shot by the rebels. Why do you think this is included in the book? How does this impact the book?

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  16. Because the rap casets were burned, that took away Ishmael's innocence and memories. I believe that this will cause Ishmael to have a deeper hatred for the rebels because that was the last solid thing he had from his past. Therefore, he will want to rid of the rebels very badly and try doing all he can to do so.

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    1. But was it really the last thing he could hold on to? He has his memories obviously because that is a reoccurring theme in the recent chapters.

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    2. To clarify, I meant solid as something to literally hold on to, as opposed to just having to think of things.

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  17. On page 125 the book says, "The boys and the other soldiers who were the audience clapped as if I had just fulfilled one of life’s greatest achievements." What do you think Ishmael's reactions were to all the boys clapping for him? Was Ishmael proud of himself?

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  18. Do you think that Ishmael is/has been using his memories to keep him from breaking down and quitting?

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    1. I think that his memories are definitely a part of the reason why he keeps going. He remembers moments that made him truly happy and content, and this keeps him from getting too depressed. What keeps him going, is the hope he has of getting out of the army and finding what he remembers as happy again and finding peace.

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    2. I think he is trying to forget his memories and thats why he has turned to drugs and killing people. Because when he is high or is killing someone his mind is so far from okay that his thoughts and memories are destroyed and he probably thinks that is better than facing reality he is just covering it up.

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  19. Ishmael's attitude and carelessness to killing off hundreds of people is resembling that of a rebel. Why do you think its so easy for Ishmael to kill when he knows how it feels on the other side?

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    1. It is simply the result of all the drugs. However, Ishmael has recently spent time doing whatever it takes to survive. Before he started taking drugs, Ishmael had already been losing his morality, his desperation to live has made him capable of anything.

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    2. Inside I think he really is sorry for killing those people but the drugs, anger, and family dying are overwelming his good side. Also when you're being applauded for being the quickest one to slit someones throat he probably feels good.

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    3. I think Ishmael is having a hard time determining what is right or wrong. He is just doing what he can to survive, and the drugs that he is given blur the line between right and wrong. He is still only 13, and he has no one to guide him. Since he has lost his family and all of his childhood friends, he is basically making all his decisions on his own, and he is just trying to do the best he can. Since this means killing to get by, I think he hasn't had much to time to reflect. Also, since he is being praised for it, I think that adds to the sense of accomplishment that he feels when they have a raid or are in a battle.

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    4. Throughout these chapters Ishmael is having a lot of anger towards everyone and everything. He is so mad that he doesn't have a family so maybe he feels like nobody else deserves a family he could be jealous. I also think that he has gone insane because of everything he has seen and been through.

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    5. I also agree with Jessa and Clay. Ishmael is too young to think for himself. Even though he knows that brutal violence is wrong, overtime, the influence from the rebels will take over him. Because Ishmael is so young, he doesn't have time to reflect on himself and his acts. Adding on, I also think that Ishmael has an anger built inside of him. The mixed emotions he feels for what happened to his family was too bottled up inside of him, and once he's fallen into the traps of the rebels and drugs, he will go beserk because he isn't able to keep all his emotions in anymore.

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    6. I think because of what he has gone through he feels justified in reacting by killing others. The drugs also play a big role in his actions. Also because all that he has been through all this built up anger is released by these actions. I think when he holds the gun he feels more powerful and even protected from the others.

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  20. On page 92 Gasemu tells Ishmael, "I see that you look very sad. Your forehead used to glow naturally when you were just a child. Your parents and I used to discuss how unusual that was. We thought it was because you were happy all the time. Your mother said you even smiled while you slept. But when you started your troublesomeness and you were angry, your forehead glowed even more. We didn't have any other explanations for your forehead anymore." Why does this have any significance? Why would he put this in his memoir?

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  21. Do you think Ishmael would rather become a soldier that fights the rebels or risk his life in the forest?

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    1. I would rather risk my life in the forest than fight the rebels because anything relating to death or killing someone scares me.

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    2. I think he would rather risk life in the forest because he then wouldn't have to kill anyone and he wouldn't have to share with anyone.

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    3. I don't think there is any differences from the army and the rebels. so if i where in his shoes i would risk my life in the forest than doing what they are doing.

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  22. "Finally we were approaching a village where seeing our families was actually a possibility. I couldn't stop smiling." p 91.
    I think that this quote shows how excited that Ishmael was to maybe be able to see his family for the first time in a very long time. He says he couldn't stop smiling, so this shows that he has a large amount of faith that his family will be at this village.

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  23. Why does the moon and stars make him feel safer?

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    1. I think the moon and the stars are comforting to Ishmael because he knows that no matter what happens, the moon and the stars won't leave him. No one has stayed consistently by his side due to the violence happening. I think he wants to have something to show light and hope in his life.

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    2. I think that the moon and stars make him feel safer because that is the one things that he sees every night. That is the one thing that he hasn't lost. It is just comforting to just know that something even that can't physically make you safe you know you can always count on it to be there.

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    3. I feel it is a safe haven for him because they never change their mood they always come out every night and watch over people, but his mood is always changing angry, sad, happy, etc.

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    4. For Ishmael the stars and the moon are always there. While many things in Ishmael's life have been taken away from him, the moon and stars are one thing that have continued to remain the same throughout his entire journey. He can always count on them to remain in the sky when the sun goes down to remind him that there is at least one thing that hasn't changed.

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    5. I think Ishmael feels safer because of the moon and stars because they kind of show that there is something out there other than the horrible war going on in Sierra Leone. The moon and stars are the exact same moon and stars anywhere in the world. I think they also give him a sense of hope that there is another life out there.

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  24. On page 96 it says "The rebels sat on the ground and started playing cards, smoking marijuana, and boasting about what they had done that day." How does seeing this effect Ishmael? Does it increase his fear that he may one day become so unaware and end up like one of these rebels?

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    1. I think that at the time it just made him so mad because they had just killed his family and there acting as though it's just another normal thing. I don't think that at that point he was worried that he may become like them because he was so consumed with his rage and sadness. But now if he were to think back at that I think he would be worried that he is becoming just like them.

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  25. On page 122 Ishmael says, "Whenever I looked at rebels during raids, I got angrier, because they looked like the rebels who played cards in the ruins of the village where I had lost my family. So when the lieutenant gave orders, I shot as many as I could, but I didn't fell better." This goes back to the famous quote of, "There are no winners in war.", and raises the question, is there anything that could make Ishmael feel better about losing in family?

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    1. I think that all the damage is done when it comes to losing his family. If not even killing the people that were responsible for Ishmael not seeing his family makes him feel better than I don't think anything will. All Ishmael wants is to see his family.

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    2. I don't think that anything will make him feel better. He has already lost everything and no matter if he kills the people responsible or not they're still gone. They're going to stay gone and there is nothing he can do about that. He may not see it now but I don't think that anything will make him feel better.

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  26. In the book drugs are used on the soldiers. Can you think of any other historical events where drugs are used on soldiers to make them do stuff?

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    2. In 2011, The US military was found to be giving drugs such as antidepressants, narcotics, anti-psychotics, sedatives and anti-anxiety drugs. [http://goo.gl/H6JS6t] This helped the soldiers preform in battle, but no I do not think drugs have been given to soldiers for any other reason other than to enhance their performance.

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  27. Page 124 "The Person who died the quickest won the contest" When you read this doesn't it seem like the army is just as bad as the rebels? Especially because they do drugs like the rebels and torcher people like the rebels. Is the war a lost cause with both sides doing evil?

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    1. Well the military are fighting for a reason to save their country but the Rebels are there just to kill people I think."We are not like the rebels, those riffraffs who kill people for no reason. We kill them for the good and betterment of this country."pg123. I am not sure if this is true but at least they have a purpose.

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    2. I think that the war is more than a lost cause, it's a tragedy for the country of Sierra Leone. Both sides have become so corrupt with a passion for violence and chaos that they have ruined an entire country. Neither side is better than the other and they both are the reason for the destruction. I think that at this point the only way to solve this conflict is with outside help from neighboring countries.

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  28. Why is it that Ishmael and whoever he is with almost always manage to escape the rebels? Like his father had said in a past chapter, "If you are alive, there is hope for a better day and something good to happen. If there is nothing good left in the destiny of a person, he or she will die." So does this mean the Ishmael will be able to help stop the rebels or is there a greater thing for him to do?

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    1. Considering this is a memoir, I think Ishmael was a lot of the time just lucky. He was smart and made wise decisions, though a lot were out of instinct and fear.

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  29. If you had a man who was trying to help you through this, and then he got shot and died, would you continue to carry him with you? Like the boys did after Gasemu died.

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    1. No. While I would have enough respect to bury him, I would not add dead weight to the group and risk being captured.

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    2. I would rather bury him and have closure of his death rather than carrying him wherever I go and having the constant reminder that he was dead.

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  30. Does the idea of revenge justify the soldiers actions against the rebels?

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    1. Personal I believe it's wrong to murder someone no matter what the person has done to you or your family. Is there anything that justify murder?

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    2. I think yes and no. The soldiers know how it feels to lose someone they love in a brutal way and the soldiers and doing the same thing they hated to other people. Revenge gives the soldiers self justification but doesn't justify what they do as being okay.

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    3. What the soldiers are doing is wrong. They are taking lives but so are the rebels. By fighting back they are trying to make it a safer place. It's going to get worse before it gets better. This is the worse.

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  31. on page 100. Ishmael is walking through dead bodies when he says " Their faces were dark, as if they had bathed them in charcoal." Why do you think Ishmael uses this kind of dark and disturbing description in his memoir?

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    1. I think he uses the dark images because that's what his mind is now. He is becoming this dark awful person and that's what his world is now, it's a dark and depressing place.

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    2. I think it could represent something further than just the color. Personally, I think it could represent their souls and how they used to act. It is disturbing but it is real. This scene is gruesome and Ismael really wants to get the message across that it is dark, black, and miserable.

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  32. "The Person who died the quickest won the contest" Page 124. When you read this doesn't it sound like the army is just as bad as the rebels. Especially because they do drugs like the rebels and torchor people like the rebels. Is the war a lost cause with both sides doing evil?

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    1. No matter what side you are on they both do evil. So it just depends on what you are fighting for.

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  33. In chapter 11, Ishmael found out that the village he was approaching, contained his family in it. When he found this out, he was super excited, but then they heard the gun shots and screams. The rebels had gotten to the village, before he had gotten to see his family. Ishmael blamed Gasmeu for not seeing his family, because he helped him carrying bananas. I think that Ishmael was very frustrated that he was so close to seeing his family but then the rebels came, so he had to blame someone because he didn't know what else to do. If I were in his shoes, I would have been really upset and I probably would have ran into the forest to find them.

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  34. On page 108, "They have lost everything that makes them human. They do not deserve to live..." How could they lose everything that makes them human? What could they have done?

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    1. I believe that for someone to do something that makes the lose everything that makes them human is to do something that no one can relate to. Human nature is to conform and to interact with one another and so for someone to become non human is to do something that cannot be justified or is shamed upon by most of society. Also another way to not be human anymore is to lose all emotion and to find the suffering of others unimportant. In the case of the book I believe that it is mostly a matter of the rebels are finding happiness in the killing of many villages and are spreading a message against the government even though there is very little chance that there is a society that will support them

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  35. Why do you feel that the Government soldiers are acting like they are acting? What do you think made them stoop to the level of all the rebel soldiers?

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    1. The government is losing soldiers, they observe that the rebels are using child soldiers. Perhaps they saw this as a beneficial way to preserve their army, or the adult soldiers could not bare killing children and they put their burden on someone else.

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    2. I think after time and time again these rebels were getting away with destroying people's homes, lives and families in such a brutal way, the soldiers felt that it was finally time to stand up for the country of Sierra Leone and defend what they believe in as getting revenge on the rebels so that they know how they are making people feel. On page 123 the soldiers Lieutenant says "We kill them for good and betterment of this country."

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  36. Does Ishmael have any emotion left? Yes, I think he does have at least one emotion left, anger. I'm sure all he wants to do is just kill all of the rebels and avenge his family and friends. He is after all a human being, therefore, I'm sure he is full of anger, and probably sadness. Humans are full of emotion, they can't just go away, he will probably be happy again one day.

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  37. "One side of the sky was completely blue and other was filled with stagnant clouds... I wasn't the only one who noticed it, because my friends stopped briefly and listened attentively." pg. 90. I think this represents the two different worlds in Sierra Leone. Before the civil war, Sierra Leone was probably a very beautiful country. It had its ups and downs but no one was living in great fear which represents the blue sky. On the other hand, the stagnant clouds represent the fear the rebels bring. As time moves on, the rebels take over and the beautiful Sierra Leone is fading away.

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  38. "The path had ended, but we kept running until the sky had swallowed the sun, and gave birth to the moon." p 98. I think that this quote shows how eager the boys were to find their families. They didn't care if they were tired, they were just going to keep walking and walking until they had been satisfied.

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  39. When the rebels attacked the village that had Ishmael's family, he again lost them. Do you think there is any chance they might be alive? Why or why not?

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    1. While it is unlikely, at this point it does not matter. Ishmael has lost himself in all the killing. Even if he reunited with his family, Ishmael would not be able to become attached to them once more.

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    2. I don't think so. I mean there is always a chance that they are still alive until we see their dead bodies, but the soldiers said that they killed everyone and Ismael saw the burning house. Also there were all of those unidentifiable bodies everywhere. I'm pretty sure that they are no longer alive, but there could be a chance that they got away

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    3. I think there is always a slight chance that Ishmael's family is alive. However, it may be doubtful because of how ruthless and destructive the rebels are. I am sure that in the back of Ishmael's mind he still has a slight thought/ hope that one day all this violence will end and his whole family will be reunited again.

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    4. I do think there is a chance that they are alive only because he couldn't find a body that was of his family and I think because of that reason Ishmael goes on even if he doesn't say it I can infer that it would be in the back of his mind.

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    5. I don't think there is any chance of them surviving because it's not a fictional story where they come back and save the day as a big twist in the story. This is a true story and I don't think that the rebels would let people get away. He must face the truth.

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  40. What do the cassettes symbolize? What does it mean now that they are gone?

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    1. I think the cassettes symbolize his happy past and hope for the same happiness in the future. During many encounters with paranoid villagers, the cassettes save the boys. It showed their innocence and proved they where just little boys. Now that the tapes are gone it represents the loss of innocence and his happy, care free past.

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    2. I think the cassettes are a symbol of his childhood and his old life. They played a huge part of his life because him, his brother, and their friends performed at talent shows and they all lived care-free lives. Now that the cassettes are gone it's like his old life is gone and he'll never get it back. Yes, he may move on from his soldier life but it will never be the same as it was before he was a soldier.

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  41. Do you think that Ishmael still thinks of his family? How does this affect him and the violence he is causing others?

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    1. I would say Ishmael is numb right now, but something that may get him to come back to living a life with out drugs or killing is Ishmael remembering his family.

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    2. I think Ishmael thinks about his family everytime he goes to war, I think he uses his family as motivation to kill the rebels that could have had something to do with him not seeing his family at this point. Thinking about his family and thinking about the potential possibility of them being brutally killed by the rebels makes revenge that much sweeter and makes it very easy for Ishmael to kill them.

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    3. The remembrance of his family seems to power his violence. In his mind, he idea of revenge justifies his actions. Seeing people he cares about die is causing a hatred toward the rebels and making him more violent.

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    4. I think the reason that Ishmael is causing all this violence on others is because of his family. Ishmael was so angered by the rebels who have killed his family, so once he becomes a boy soldier, he can't hold himself back anymore and will start to hurt others too. The reason for this is because he feels that, aside from the drugs and influence, others need to experience the pain he felt.

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  42. Ishmael has gotten in to drugs, he has gone in to a state of numbness.He kills others telling himself its okay because of what the rebels have done to his family. How will Ishmael over come becoming addicted to drugs and killing.

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  43. "We must kill them all. We must make sure they never walk this Earth again." p 108. Why do you think the people began shouting this?

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    1. The people shouting that probably wanted all of them dead because of how their beliefs interact with each other..

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    2. I think they began shouting this to get their point of what they were going to do across to all of the civilians. By know we know that the rebels are extremely verbal with their crimes and murders. So I think they are shouting this to threaten all people left in these villages who may still be alive.

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  44. Sense this book is a memoir, it is obvious that Ishmael gets out alive and ends up in America just fine. How do you predict Ismael will get out of the situation he is in, and get to America?

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    1. From where he stand in the book now, I would say either the war would have to end for Ishmael to realize he is in a place in which he could not even stand to look at and leave or during the war he comes to this realization and leaves by hiding from both sides.

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  45. From what is told in the book about the soldiers that are created by these kids, would it be more humane to be a rebel or a military soldier? Which one is more safe for the people being recruited?

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    1. I think it would be more humane to be a rebel. The soldiers were forced to take drugs, making them addicted to fighting just to get more drugs. The rebels had the option to leave without any side-affects, while the soldiers would go through withdrawal.

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    2. To be honest I don't really think that it would be safe to be recruited by either side. Each side has its own goods and bads but overall they are taking little boys and making them soldiers that in general is just not safe for the kids. Neither of them are humane.

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  46. How did Gasemu feel after he watched his new village being attacked? How did he feel when Ishmael started beating him? How did Ishmael feel after Gasemu died? Did he feel guilty, like he should have been nicer? Or did Ishmael still feel anger at Gasemu?

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  47. Do you think Ishmael would rather risk his life in the forest or become a soldier fighting the rebels?

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    1. I think he would rather fight the rebels as a soldier because he is able to get closure and pride in himself for giving the rebels what they deserve and showing them how it feels to be brutally killed like he has seen many times and experienced with people in his group.

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    2. I think in the long run, Ishmael would have been better off in the forest because by becoming a soldier, it immediately signed himself up for the use of drug, the post traumatic stress, and the guilt of all the people he has killed. Where as in the forest all he had to do was to find food and not die even though he would have a lot of time to reflect on the war. Both of them are in the long run pretty bad for his health but the forest would leave him with less of a problem getting back to normal. The danger seems less in the forest as well as he never saw anyone really in his travels.

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  48. "The idea of death didn't cross my mind at all and killing had become as easy as drinking water". Ishmael says this on page 122. Do you think Ishmael will still feel this way by the end of the book or do you think something will come upon him to make his feelings change?

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    1. The cocaine and other drugs he is taking has made Ishmael so numb to killing. His feelings will change when either he quits taking drugs or when he is ordered to kill someone he has a personal attachment to.

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  49. How did you think Ishmael feel when two of his friends died? Did it bring him anger, sadness, or both?

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    1. It definitely brought Ishmael both anger and sadness as it said in the book. that the death of two of his friends made him more mad and encouraged him to fight harder, but I think that deep down inside of him he is sad because that feeling of loneliness when he sees those people die.

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  50. Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in Africa so where did the money come from to buy all of these drugs and guns?

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    1. Most of the guns are extremely old, and they get most of their supplies from raids. As they take over more villages, they gain more supplies. Also, the war is the primary focus so I'm assuming they are putting most of their money into it. But the entire war seems to be running on poor supplies, even the rebels don't have much.

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    2. I think that it was from diamonds, the rebels have diamond mines and smuggle them out of the country and sell them to buyers in the US and Europe. I know that is a major source of income along with human trafficking and possibly drug trade. Basically the same way gangs in our country get money into the poorest neighborhoods, just different businesses and a larger scale.

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    3. My theory is that the rebels stole things from the military or they had people from other countries on their side, being able to get weapons and anything else they need from them. The little money that they actually have might go to the military, so they are able to have weapons. Also, the drugs probably came from other countries, or they grew them themselves using all the plants that Africe has, because I assume Africa probably naturally has drugs, such as marijuana.

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  51. Do you think the boys will become sick when they have to be taken off the drugs? Or do you think they will continue to find a way to take them, even if they are no longer fighting?

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    1. I think that if they are taken off drugs, then they will become very sick and possibly die because of withdrawal, however i think most children will find a way to get more drugs in order to satisfy their addiction.

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  52. Would he be able to redeem himself if he managed to help stop the war?

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    1. Well what ever happens he wrote his book. I would say in the end he must be able to find some sort of redemption .

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  53. "If you are religious, I mean a Christian, worship your lord today, because you might not have another chance." (pg 114) This particular quote is significant because it shows how severe the war was against the Rebels. It is significant also, because the lieutenant gave them the day off so that they can pray and worship, before they go into the war and fight off people and they might die doing so.

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  54. On page 124 Ishmael says "I was part of something that took me seriously..." do you think fighting in war is helping him find himself as a person and realize how important he is to grow his self confidence?

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    1. I think that Ishmael is just very blinded by all the madness going around. All the crazy things that are happening in his life right now are making him go insane. He's too caught up in his own world that he doesn't have the time to stop and think about what he's doing.

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  55. Who were the dead people in the very beginning of chapter twelve? Were they rebels or did the soldiers start killing innocent people to take over their village? Also, one soldier catches Ishmael looking at the bodies and said, "you will get used to it, everybody does." Was he trying to comfort Ishmael, scare him or was he just simply saying that to show what war does to people?

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  56. How far is Ishamel willing to go in order to stop this war?

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    1. At the moment I feel as if Ishmael isn't trying to stop the war but trying to get revenge for the deaths of his family. As I think Milad mentioned in the fishbowl he was kinda just killing not really taking notice of what he was really doing.

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  57. On page 125 after killing a prisoner the fastest, Ishmael says, "I was given the rank of junior lieutenant...". How will this new ranking affect Ishmael both physically, as well as mentally?

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    1. I think this ranking will make him feel superior, and enjoy the war more. He was extremely proud of himself for winning the contest, and the fact that he was praised for it and then rewarded shows how disturbing the war is. I doubt it will effect him very much physically, but mentally it will make him feel as if everything he has been doing during the war is the right thing.

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    2. Mentally I think it will give him more confidence. The support of his violent acts will make it easier for him to continue them. I am not sure how it will affect him physically.

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    3. I think that all the higher ranked soldiers will expect more of Ishmael, not just going out and killing people. I think it will affect him physically because he will get more tired out and maybe he will be harmed more if he doesn't meet the expectations. It will affect him mentally because he will get to that point where he no longer can take in the expectations of himself.

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  58. "Now it was clear to all, we weren't going for training." (pg 115) What do you think was running through the boys minds as they were going to fight the rebels?

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    1. I would say fear, nothing but fear.

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    2. Along with fear, I believe at least a couple of the boys must have felt a moment of not necessarily joy but a chance at revenge for that they have all gone through.

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  59. Do you think that the Ishmael from the beginning of the book would have more hesitant to kill all of these people than the Ishmael now? Explain

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    1. Definitely. Ishmael would not have even considered killing these people at the beginning of the book. He has spent a very long time doing anything to survive, and has slowly lost his morals. The Ishmael of the present is not in anyway the same Ishmael from before.

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    2. Yes. Ishmael in the beginning of this book was your average 12 year old kid, war wasn't apart of his mindset and he was with his family. There was no event or thing that caused him to feel the need to get revenge on someone. There was no separation from his loved ones and there wasn't any reason he felt the need to kill. As time has gone on I agree with Joe, I think Ishmael has lost his morals and has begun to lose himself, the war is not only effecting him emotionally and physically but mentally as well. He has shaped into a different person.

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  60. Do you think the soldiers would be able to survive this war without taking pills for a source of energy and doing drugs?

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    1. They would not be soldiers at all if they didn't take the pills and drugs. Even if they were soldiers, they would not be able to look at all the violence around them and survive without drugs.

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    2. I think that they would be able to survive it. Just not as well or as effectively as they do with the drugs.

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  61. On page 124 Ishmael says "There was no time to be alone or to think." How does not having the space to think affect these boys? Is it better that they don't have time to get deep into their thoughts?

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    1. It prevents them from realizing what they have done. They will not have the opportunity to consider their morals and refuse to fight.

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  62. What differences do you see in Ishmael's morals from when Saidu died in chapter 10, as opposed to all his friends dyeing in chapters 13 and 14? Why do you think this is?

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  63. How do you think Ishmael feels about being a soldier?

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    1. I don't think he feels anything. The drugs have been keeping him on this sort of permanent high, and he is numb enough to stay alive and do his job as a child soldier.

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    2. I think he is scared but he feels important and recognized.

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  64. Would you say Ishmael has become immune to felling the effects of killing others, why or why not?

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    1. maybe not immune but defiantly numb to it. It's like he doesn't even care anymore.

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    2. Yes, Ishmael has no sympathy and seems to have very little care for killing people. The Ismael we knew at the beginning of the book wouldn't be able to look hundreds of people in the eye and kill them like it was nothing.

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    3. For now, once they have been taken off the drugs the effects of killing those people will return full force.

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    4. I don't think he is immune to feeling the effects of killing others, but he hasn't really thought about it. He is caught up in the moment and motivated by revenge and drugs.

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