Thursday, November 29, 2007

Debate activity one

-political debate
People watch this type of debate on television. They are used to see how each candidate feels about a specific topic. From these debates, we make a better decision on who we want to represent us from the answers they respond with. It is a very structured debate which effects our decision because each candidate gets an equal opportunity to respond.

-sports report
Sports reports are on television and debate sports teams and are used to predict what they think will happen to each team. it doesn’t help us arrive at a decision because we can’t change the game’s results, but it helps us decide who we cheer for. It is a structured debate which helps because we hear both sides equally.

A trail is a structured debate that happens in court rooms that is used to decide if a crime was committed. The judge and jury decide if a punishment will be enforced. Since it is structured, the decision is better because both sides will be able to express their opinions.

-book club
Book clubs usually take place at home where people congregate to discuss a book that they have all read. It is used to evaluate the book read. The decision on whether or not you liked the book, which may be helped by debating, but it may not be because you already would know if you enjoyed it while reading. It isn’t very structured so one opinion may not be heard as much, so less people would side with them.

-class debate
A class debate would take place in a classroom to help the students better understand the topic. The class will arrive at a better decision because they will better understand the topic after the debate. It can be unstructured, but usually it is a structured debate so the students can arrive at a decision after understanding both points of views.

Monday, November 19, 2007

week four; post two

Dear John
Nicholas Sparks
Week four; post two

When John goes to meet Savannah’s parents, you can really tell the differences between the ways that John grew up, and the way that Savannah grew up (pg. 152). For one, John’s dad raised him on his own, without help. Savannah had two loving parents care for her throughout her childhood. It has always been hard for John to connect to his father. He was quiet, shy, and socially awkward. But when John meets Savannah’s dad, he enjoys spending time watching baseball with him, and conversation comes very easily (pg. 156). Savannah’s parents have a great relationship, and always have. Savannah has always wished to someday find a relationship as good as theirs. John however, never had an example of a healthy relationship. His mother left him and his dad when he was less than one (pg. 127). Afterwards, John’s dad never had a girlfriend, nor dated ever. Another difference between their childhoods was the financial situation. While John’s dad spent all of their extra money on his coin collection, they didn’t have any money to buy anything else except the necessities. Savannah’s parents had ample amount of money. She got a horse of her own for a birthday present. Savannah lived where there was land stretching for miles. She lived on a ranch and had the simple life (pg. 155). With the support of her parents, she always has stayed on the straight and narrow road. John lived in a city, but the better half of the city at least. He didn’t grow up with much money, so extra expenses like going to a movie with friends were out of reach. John didn’t connect with his dad, and they grew apart. He got involved with the wrong crowd in high school and his grades were bad. What is amazing to me is that even through all of their differences, they find a common connection in one another. As they say, opposites attract.

week four; post one

Dear John
Nicholas Sparks
Week four; post one

Barracks (pg. 144): Buildings grouped together to house soldiers
Dismal (pg. 148): characterized by ineptness; pitiful; causing gloom or melancholy

John says, “ …I’d get this sinking feeling, one that made me think that as much as we’d kept in touch, as much as we cared about each other, she’d somehow zigged while I had zagged.” (pg. 160). This is important because it shows the separation that their relationship suffered from him being away for a year. Even with how much they love each other, the time lost couldn’t be replaced. Space had grown slightly between them.

week three; post two

Dear John
Nicholas Sparks
Week three; post two

Nicholas Sparks does a great job of writing this book. It not only is very interesting and entertaining, it also has many literary tricks to keep us interested. Foreshadow is the most common in this book. One way Nicholas uses foreshadow is when John is leaving. John and Savannah promise that they will marry each other when John returns home, and although they are both fairly confident in the fact that they will, there are hints that lead one to believe that something will separate the two of them. The first hint is when Tim, Savannah’s best friend, warns how involved Savannah is in the relationship, and that he’d better not break her heart (pg.133). Then, in Savannah’s first letter to John, she too warns him not to break her heart (pg. 139). Another way Sparks hints at this is through Johns comments. He is totally committed to Savannah, and confident that they can come though and stay together, he makes a comment about how most couples don’t make it with a long distance relationship (pg. 134). One other way Sparks uses foreshadow is to hint that Tim has deeper feelings toward Savannah than just friends. He does this, firstly, by how intimidated John was of him at first. He was always suspicious that there was something more to it than friends (pg. 36). Tim also always speaks very highly of Savanna, and knows more about her than she does him (pg. 125). Also, when John is leaving town, he comments about how Tim will always be a better man than he, which leaves one thinking that John believes that Savannah should end up with the better man, Tim (pg. 133).

week three; post one

Dear John
Nicholas Sparks
Week three; post one

In a letter, Savannah writes to John, “If you come back, I’ll marry you. If you break your promise, you will break my heart.” This is an important quote firstly because it shows how seriously in love they both are, but it is also important because it leaves a hint towards breaking her heart, and wondering if he will.

One emerging theme from the book is to accept people as they are. John’s dad has always been socially weird, but Savannah pointed out to John that he may have Asperger’s, a learning disability. Now John has to accept his dad in a new way.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

week two; post two

Dear John
Nicholas Sparks
Week two; post two

In many ways I see similarities between Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook and Dear John. One similarity is the simple heartedness of the main women characters. In The Notebook, Allison is a girl with a fun-loving spirit and a huge heart. Similarly in Dear John, Savannah is very pure, religious, and very honest. One of the first times Savannah and John are together, they go to church (pg. 48). It defiantly wasn’t John’s idea either. Also, Savannah doesn’t fall into peer pressure. Although she is in college, and surrounded by people drinking and doing drugs all of the time, she doesn’t feel the need to do the same. She knows that she can be different (pg. 72). Another similarity between the two stories is the type of love that both couples share. In The Notebook, Allison and Noah start their relationship in the summer. Although only they were only together for three months, their love was young, and deep. In Dear John, They are beginning to feel the same way about each other. They will also be separated, because he has to go back to the army in one month, but you can tell he is falling for her (pg. 18). There is also foreshadows showing us this. For example, John says, “…wonder how I could be falling for a girl that I’d met only the day before.” You can tell from the quote that the author is hinting at the fact that the relationship is going to become very strong.

week two; post one

Dear John
Nicholas Sparks
Week two; post one

Dilapidated(pg. 63) : a state of ruin or decay.
Consummate(pg. 65): to fulfill; to bring to a state of perfection

A theme emerging in this book is to stay close to the ones you love. John suffers deeply from the separation he feels from his father. From becoming a rebel in his teens to not going to college, John really could have used support from his father to keep him on track. Always trying to close the gap with starting new conversations, but nothing ever comes of it. On the other hand, Savannah has always been close to her parents, and she is perfectly content with being herself, and being a good person.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

week one; post two

Dear John
Nicholas Sparks
Week one; post two

I really like the beginning to this book. It has grabbed my attention and I want to keep reading. The Protagonist in this book is named John Tyree. He and his dad live together in Wilmington, North Carolina, a city close to the beach. His mom ran off when he was less than a year old, and they never talk about her (pg. 9).His dad and him have an emotional gap between them that really effects how John lives his life, and it started when John was just getting to become a teenager. His dad didn’t make much money, but what he did make he spent on collecting coins. The lack of money never bothered John until he started to notice differences between him and his friends because of it. His friends would go to the movies, but John couldn’t pay so he would be at home. He then started to take his anger of his dad. One night, John exploded at his dad about spending all of their money on coins, and their relationship was changed forever(pg.14). Before that, coins was the only thing that the two of them had in common, but since they couldn’t talk about that anymore, the conversations grew shorter and shorter. The space between them grew larger as the conversations grew shorter. John found a new group to hang out with that money wasn’t as much of a factor, but they were the wrong crowd. His grades dropped and his instead of going to college, John wanted to get a job. Fired numerous times, one night, it struck him how meaningless his life was, and how with not much time left with his dad, he wanted to make him proud, so he joined the army(pg. 17). Without he and his dad growing this gap, I think that John would have stayed focused and gone to college instead of being unmotivated and lazy.

week one; post one

Dear John
Nicholas Sparks
Week one; post one

Monkish (pg. 20): acting with self-denial
Autism (pg. 39): A development disorder found in children with symptoms of impaired communication, excessive strictness, and emotional disconnection.

“He lapsed back into his own thoughts, and all I could think was that the same thing could be said about our conversations.” (pg.43). John said this after his dad said that his job was the same today as always. John means that his conversations with his dad are always the same, short, uninteresting, and meaningless. He and His dad have a distance between them that is shown by their short conversations.

book choice overview

Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
Published in 2006
276 pages
This book is a number one New York Times bestseller. It deals with very deep emotions with strong meaning. It is about a man that falls in love with a woman just before going to war. She vows that she would wait for him until he returns. But when he comes back, he has to make some sort of choice between love and country, I’ll figure out what the choice is when I read the book. But even without knowing the choice that he has to make, you can tell that the book has many deep conflicts that will be challenging to comprehend their emotions and reactions.
I chose this book because the author, Nicholas Sparks, wrote The Notebook, which is one of my favorite movies. I know I like the authors style of writing, and I found that Dear John was published in 2006. The summery of the book sounded very interesting so I decided to get this book.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Sea Inside; part three

The Sea Inside; part three
The camera angles in The Sea Inside added a deeper meaning to the film. One scene I remember was the first time Ramon and Julia met, she was asking him why he wanted to die. Part of his response is talking about how the easiest of tasks for him are impossible. He can’t move his hand to touch hers, only a foot away. While he is talking about touching her hand, the camera is directly above his hand and trucks down his arm to his hand and onto Julia’s. It makes you so badly want to just move his hand for him, you feel like it is moving, then realize that his hand it in the same position as before. It gives you a sense of how hard it must be for him not being able to move his hand that tiny little bit.

The Sea Inside; part two

The Sea Inside; part two
The Sea Inside and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly have many similarities. For one, they are both stuck inside bodies that can’t do what their perfectly working minds want them to. Although The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is much more severe, they both are quadriplegics. They also both find a need to write in their situation. Whether it was in poems like The Sea Inside or a book, they express themselves. Both characters have a difficult time remembering the past, but for different reasons. Bauby didn’t like remembering the past because he took his health for granted. On the other hand, Ramon didn’t like remembering the past because he missed all the adventures he used to take. I found that The Diving Bell and the Butterfly was more powerful because it was his thoughts while in this condition instead of about trying to die. I found it deeper to hear their perspective on the condition and what he would do daily, think about, and dream about to keep himself occupied.

The Sea Inside; part one

The Sea Inside; part one
The Sea Inside was a very powerful movie with deep feelings. I felt much sympathy for Ramon, but I’m not sure that I agree with him. I can’t begin to understand how he feels, but I feel that he could have made much more of the time he had after the accident, even if it was in a wheelchair. At the same time, I can also see how using a wheelchair would be completely degrading. I agree with the courts decision because for them to kill him would be, in my eyes, murder. His actions, although I disagree with his decision, I think were needed. If you are living and hate every day of it and only wish to die as much as he did, then I think it was the right decision to take his own life. I also agree with the people who helped him. They couldn’t change his mind, so they did a favor for someone they loved.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Week 6; part one

A Long Way Gone
By: Ishmael Beah
Week 6; part one
The final section of this book is a great conclusion. Ishmael is soon going to live with his uncle in the city. He stays up all night wondering why, of all his family and friends that he was the one that survived. When he left the home, he had mixed emotions. He was grateful for the fact that he had found family and a home to live in, but sad to leave all of his friends at the home. Saying goodbye to some of his friends like Mambo, because Ishmael knew it would be the last. At his new home, Ishmael was fed a great meal by his aunt and was given a room to share with his cousin Allie. Allie and Ishmael quickly became friends by going to a club at night. Ishmael met a girl there, but the relationship was soon over because he was scared to let anyone in. Leslie applied Ishmael to be interviewed to go to New York for a conference, and days later Ishmael was selected. After getting his passport, visa, and new cloths, he flew to New York with Dr. Tamba and Bah who were also attending the conference. Ishmael experienced taller buildings, his fist winter coat, and his first snowfall all in one day. At the meeting, other boys with difficult childhoods told their stories and how they have overcome them, or how they have to go back to them. Laura, who was an adult storyteller at the conference, toured the city and its many sights with Bah and Ishmael. On the last day of the conference, Ishmael told his story from his heart, instead of what was written for him and was hugely successful. When leaving New York, Ishmael, Bah, and Laura were all crying at the airport. They exchanged addresses and numbers then they were off. Ishmael returned to his uncle and immediately began in a secondary school. Things weren’t normal for long. The city was invaded and guns were constantly being fired. For weeks the fighting never stopped. Ishmael’s uncle became sick and died soon after. With fear of becoming a soldier again he left the city to go to New York and live with Laura, who agreed that Ishmael could live with her. He took a bus to cross the border into Guinea, and then got to the capital, Conakry. They would constantly be stopped by checkpoints where soldiers would make them pay to pass and search for any valuables. Lucky for him, he became friends with someone that spoke the native language of Guinea so he could communicate to get what he needed. Almost out of money, Ishmael snuck onto his last bus to get where he needed. He did make it to the Sierra Leone Embassy, and knew he was finally safe.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Week five; part one

A Long Way Gone
By: Ishmael Beah
Week five part one
In section five, Ishmael continues to recover from his traumatizing days as a soldier. He was at a place called Benin Home outside of Freetown. He is continually angered by civilians telling him what to do. The drugs were wearing off, and he and the other boys were often sick because of that. The boys would often hold fights for entertainment. Ishmael refused nurses attention when possible, but he was sometimes forced to accept help, like when he got glass stuck inside his hand. Ishmael remembered times of a junior lieutenant, leading his men to destroy a village and kill the members of it. He was nicknamed green snake, because he blends with nature and is deadly when he wants to be. The home encouraged the boys to go to school, but instead they sold the supplies for money to go into Freetown with. Eventually, the school stopped the sales and made a deal with the students. If you went to school during the week, you could take a trip to Freetown on the weekends; everyone started attending. The bruises on Ishmael’s arms remind him of the near misses of bullets when attacking a town. He recalls how they buried the prisoners alive. All of the boys had nightmares while sleeping, some sleepwalking and yelling because of them. The nurse, Esther, finally convinced Ishmael to get a check-up by bribing him with a coke. Days after the initial appointment, she gave him a present; a walkman with a rap tape. Esther noticed bullet wounds on his shin, from when Ishmael had surgery to remove a bullet from battle. To make sure he was treated appropriately, Esther took him to Freetown for a more precise examination of the wounds. That day in town, Esther purchased a Bob Marley tape for Ishmael and a jersey for Alhaji. A field worker named Leslie came to Freetown with them too. Leslie’s job was also to find a home for the boys after rehabilitation. After that day, Esther and Ishmael became better friends. They would listen to the tapes and write the lyrics daily. With their friendship, Ishmael started talking to her about his dreams, family, and his previous life. After performing in a talent show for the home, Ishmael became an official spokesperson, talking to people about how the boy soldiers are rehabilitating and need foster homes. Ishmael suggested for Leslie to look for his uncle Tommy as a foster home, and Leslie came through. Ishmael met his uncle for the first time, and he agreed to have Ishmael live with him and his family. His uncle made visits every weekend, and the two of them became close, talking about Ishmaels dad and the trouble they got into as kids. Ishmael met his new family, and they were all very nice. There were four cousins- Allie, Matilda, Kona, and Sombo. After going to a soccer game with the Allie, the oldest being 21 and the only boy, Tommy took Ishmael back to the home.

It is so hard to imagine what Ishmael and the other boys have gone through. Their trust in others has been demolished; their happiness has been taken away along with their innocence. The boys struggle to rehabilitate from their destructive state. If it wasn’t for Esther, I’m not sure Ishmael would have. Esther didn’t judge him for what he has done. She treats him like a boy his age would normally be treated, and she becomes his friend. Talking to her helped him cope with his past. Ishmael struggles to recall the days of happiness with his family, because it only saddens him. He is now alone and so deeply wishes that his family would have lived. When Esther listens to him, he tells her everything and begins to become more comfortable with talking about the past like he needs too. Ishmael’s talents of rapping and dancing have helped him continuously throughout the book. It has gotten the boys out of trouble with a chief of a village, helped him befriend Esther, and now it helped him become the spokesperson for rehabilitating boy soldiers. Without this talent pushing him though the hard times, he may not have made it. It was the entertainment of the dance that prevented the chief from killing him and his friends. It was the beginning of the friendship with Esther that helped him cope with his past and what he had done. And now it has helped him become the spokesperson for boy soldiers, promoting foster care for others. Although on the whole Ishmael was extremely unfortunate with his past events, he is lucky that he could rap and dance, and that he became friends with Esther.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Week four; part two

A Long Way Gone
By: Ishmael Beah
Week four part two

This section started off with Ishmael and his four friends walking for days, until they came across a group of soldiers. They ordered the boys to follow them, but instead of being brutally captured, the soldiers brought the boys to town. The town seemed safe, and had many soldiers guarding it. The town was actually a base for the military. The boys were served with food, helped with chores, and given places to sleep. Instead of being scared all the time, the village was up and about. Soccer games were going on regularly, people were swimming, it seemed like it was before the war. Although Ishmael didn’t enjoy this, he was too occupied with thinking about his family. He and the lieutenant had a connection too. They both enjoyed reading Shakespeare a lot. But as the boys started getting used to this living style again, it all changed. The soldiers of the town were sent to fight the rebels who were getting close to the town. Fear retuned to the boys. But this time it wasn’t just because war was coming close, it was because they were going to be a part of it. The lieutenant said that the rebels were too strong and had too many men. They needed the boys of the village to fight to protect the base. So they immediately began training. They were taught that the gun was their new best friend; their means of staying alive; their safety. Through all of the days of training, when the first battle came, neither Ishmael nor any of the other boys were prepared. Scared beyond belief, they took off with their guns in hand to the front line. In battle, it took Ishmael a long time to actually pull the trigger. Once he did, he couldn’t be stopped. The gun became his power, his way of taking anger of his family deaths out. The gun was his best friend. Musa and Josiah, Ishmaels friends, were killed were killed in the first battle. After that first battle, Ishmael’s life changed. The lieutenant started giving him and the other boys drugs though out the day. Killing didn’t faze him anymore. He became proud when he killed. This went on for two years, until the UNICEF saved the boy soldiers, but not in the boys’ eyes. They felt rejected by their lieutenant, and very angry. The UNICEF took the boys to the capital of Sierra Leone, Freetown. There they were given food and beds and were being treated. Instead of changing right away, it took the boys much time to get back their correct frame of mind. They got in a fight with other boy soldiers. The stabbing, shooting, and killing weren’t stopped for twenty minutes, when six boys were already dead.

Week four; part one

A Long Way Gone
Ishmael Beah
Week four part one

In A Long Way Gone, Ishmael says this, “It hadn’t crossed their minds that a change in environment wouldn’t immediately make us normal boys; we were dangerous, and brainwashed to kill.”(Beah, p. 135) This quote is important because it explains how the boy soldier’s minds are warped. They are programmed to kill, and don’t think twice about it. Their senior advisors tell teach them that the right thing to do is kill them, and because the boys trust and look up to them, they do what they are told. Soon the boys forget what the right thing is. Through the drugs and killing, they become what Ishmael said; dangerous and brainwashed to kill.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Reflection to The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Reflection to: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book. It was so interesting to me what had happened to him and his personal reaction to the situation. Before this book, I had never heard of locked in syndrome, so that alone was intriguing. Being able to understand his reactions and how he coped with his misfortunes was amazing. I liked Bauby’s writing style a lot. It had a certain sense of sarcasm and dry humor about his very depressing situation. The fact that he could be sarcastic shows a certain level of coping with the circumstance in my mind. It shows that he understands that he is stuck like this, and also thinks that it is ironically funny. But I also look at his sarcasm in sadness, because it also shows that he has intentions of improving. Bauby’s story could be confusing at times. In chapters like The Empress, or At The Wax Museum, I would get lost weather or not he was talking about a dream, a memory, or if it was happening right then. It wasn’t always clear when he transitioned from past to present. In the book, I especially liked the chapters about the present time. I was so fascinated with what his daily life had come to be like. Chapters like Sunday when he is talking about what he is doing right at that moment, help me understand how devastating locked in syndrome is, and how dependent he is on other people. Although these types of chapters could be the most depressing, they were my favorites. Hearing his reactions to his current situation were sad. Starting from when he thought that he would be able to walk again before they put him into a wheelchair, to him hinting to the fact that he wouldn’t live much longer symbolized by the end of summer; every time he spoke of his misfortunes, he lost hope. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly was a heartbreaking book, but it was also a book that had me interested the whole time.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Week three; part two

A Long Way Gone
By: Ishmael Beah
Week three; part two

A Long Way Gone is one of the best books I have ever read. Ishmael is so descriptive to what is going on around him, and to his own thoughts. He is very good at clearly describing the situations going on around him; I haven’t been confused about the events once. The pain of not just him, but everyone around him is described. Although the pain is unimaginable, you feel like you start to understand what he is going through when he is so close to his family, but then the die before he can get to him. Or his torched feet from running continually on burning sand. Through his descriptions, it is easy to visualize places, like the deserted towns he passes. Although I love the descriptions, I wish that the book had more variety. At this point, I don’t want to hear the same thing about another deserted town, or another scary night. I want more range in the events.
It is unbelievable to me what Sierra Leone went through in this civil war. I can’t even begin to imagine why the rebels think that killing citizens, splitting families, and demolishing villages will actually help their country and promote their cause. And the fact is that this kind of war is going on around the world right now, and I am powerless. I could donate money, or help survivors, but I can’t stop the war nor can I turn back time and revitalize the killed loved ones.
This book keeps bringing one visual back into my mind. In the movie Hotel Rwanda, when Paul Rusesabagina, the main character, is driving back from picking up supplies for his hotel. His friend, that is actually an enemy, suggests going a different way back. Paul takes his advice, to find out that it was a trick. Instead of having a dirt road, it is a road piled full of dead bodies. Thousands piled on top of each other for miles ahead. I picture this scene whenever Ishmael describes the bodies in villages left behind, killed from the rebels.
I predict, that very soon, Ishmael will be captured and turned into a boy soldier. I think that he will have to be separated from his traveling buddies. As a boy soldier, he will have to kill many people, and I think that his mind will be permanently damaged from the actions he was forced to take.

Week three; part one
A Long Way Gone
By: Ishmael Beah
Week three; part one

1. The boy’s travels got long. Each of them desperately wants their families to be with them. Through all of the almost-deaths that they have survived, their minds are slowly dying. Although their life was mostly filled with fear and anger, they have had some good times too, including the time they went hunting. They assisted one village in their hunting, and then joined in a ceremony at night. They left the next morning with a gallon of water and meat to eat later. They often told stories to keep each other entertained. Sleeping was never easy for Ishmael. He is always fighting memories of times with his family, like his naming ceremony, or other joyful events in his previous life. Every boy that Ishmael was traveling with had lost their families in Mattru Jong when the rebels attacked. The boys, unable to sleep in the scary night, decided to walk at night and take turns sleeping during the day. At night, when they were walking they heard footsteps and immediately hid in the brush. When the men left, the boys found Saidu, their friend, passed out. Waking up shortly after, he still gave the boys quite a scare. The next village they arrived in had great news for all of them, especially Ishmael. Someone in the town recognized Ishmael, and told him that his family, mom, dad, and brothers, were in the next town. She said that many families from Mattru Jong fled there, so they all had a good chance of finding their families. The boys stayed the night in the village, with plans to leave early the next morning. But when they woke up, they found Saidu lifeless. They buried him before leaving to find their families. They were approaching the town when they came across Gasemu, a family friend of Ishmaels from Mattru Jong. Gasemu asked the boys to help him carry bananas to the village. As they were walking, Gasemu told Ishmael that his family was there, and praying for his safety and to see him. They got to the border of the village, when guns started going off. They found the village completely destroyed, with no sign of Ishmael’s family, and no sign of survivors or of someone escaping. Ishmael blamed not seeing his family on Gasemu, and took out his anger physically on him, and then all of them started to fight. But once they heard footsteps of rebels coming to see their destruction, they all hid. With one little movement from the boys, the rebels started shooting at them. Running as fast as they could to escape the bullets, Gasemu got hit, but had to keep running. As soon as the rebels stopped shooting, they assisted Gasemu, who told them what path to take to get to safety, then died shortly after.
2. Ishmael Beah was born in Sierra Leone in 1980. In 1991, Sierra Leone became involved in a devastating civil war. Ishmael’s family was killed along with many others, while he was captured to become a boy soldier in 1993. He fought for three years when he was finally saved and put into a rehabilitation home and given a foster home in New York. Ishmael finished high school, then completed his Bachelor of arts and political science at Oberlin college.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Week two

A Long Way Gone
By: Ishmael Beah
Week two reading blog

Loaded words

-Young boys (pg 37): Young boys are being forced by the rebels to murder. When using the term “young boys” it reminds us and makes us think of them and little, innocent, people who are killing. It makes it much more dramatic.
-Chief (pg 38): Chief of the village captured the boys. By saying “chief”, it shows how much power and authority this person has. Since they are captured by him, it the possibility of them getting hurt by the chief becomes much more real in our minds.
-Elders (pg 45): the elders were blessing Ishmael’s family’s new house. The word “elder” makes us think that this person is respected, smart, and the spiritual capability to bless the home.
-Sorrow (pg 46): “Sorrow” gives us more emotional feeling that just sadness or upset. Deep sorrow about losing his family.
-Human (pg 47): Ishmael hasn’t been in contact with humans in six days until now. Saying “human” makes them sound uncivilized, less emotion than actual people.
-Brutal (pg 49): His brutal hunger sounds more desperate and painful then just bad hunger.
-Charging (pg 53): Wild pigs were charging at him. Saying charging shows us how fast and strong the pigs were that were attacking him. Gives us a sense of the strong pigs.
-Fatigue (pg 55): His fatigue after being in a forest for one month. “Fatigue” reminds us of how tiring staying alive in a forest was for him.
-Chopped (pg 57): A person being chopped with a machete. “Chopped” makes the situation sound like it happens all the time. It is common to be chopped by a machete.
-Host (pg 63): The host took care of them. “Host” refers to a waiter, or a servant that assists and helps them whenever they need, when actually it was just a fisherman helping heal the boy’s feet after walking on hot sand.

In the second week, the boys again had close encounters with rebels. While staying in a town, they helped farm and produce food for the villagers daily. The rebels attacked the town quickly and without notice. Ishmael was separated from all of his friends, and after the rebels cleared out of the town, he left walking all by himself. Ishmael got very lost and ended up spending a month trying to find his way out of a forest. By coincidence, as leaving the forest, Ishmael found people he recognized from his home town, and joined them. This made a group of seven boys, trying to find a safe place to be, away from the war. Rumor spread that there was an island off of Sierra Leone that was protected by soldiers, so that was their target. They found a village on the beach, but instead of the townspeople helping them, they took their shoes and scared them away. Shoeless was awful on the burning hot sand, and they could hardly stand it, until they found a fisherman that helped them out.

Through his struggles, I am realizing how smart Ishmael has to be to stay alive. He has to know different plants to eat, how to make shelter, how to find water, and much more. I can hardly believe he made it through living in a forest for one whole month. I feel so bad for him and all of his misfortunes, especially not knowing if he will ever see any of his family again.

Week one

A Long Way Gone
By Ishmael Beah
Week one reading blog

A Long Way Gone jumped right into the action, and grabbed my attention right away. It started off in the small town of Mogbwemo in Sierra Leone. Ishmael and his friends, Mohamed and Talloi, and his older brother, Junior, loved to practice and perform rap and hip-hop dancing. There was a talent show a few towns over in Mattru Jong that they decided to perform in. They left Mogbwemo and planned to return the following day. On there way to the talent show, they stopped in their grandmother’s town and visited her for dinner, then continued on and reached Mattru Jong that night. But when they finally reached Mattru Jong, the villagers heard that their home town of Mogbwemo was attacked by rebels. In hopes of finding their family, Junior, Mohamed, Talloi, and Ishmael went back home. Ishmael had clear memories of their family. His parents divorced when he was young. Ishmael’s dad paid for Junior and Ishmaels schooling, and in return they lived with him. His mom took care of their younger brother Ibrahim. When they reached their grandmothers town, it was a deserted village. Everyone was running the opposite direction, away from the rebels. Ishmael and Junior realized they couldn’t go back home without being captured by the rebels, and went back to Mattru Jong. Soon after they returned, troop arrived to protect the town, knowing that it was the next rebel target. Ishmael was scared of what was to come. He tried to think of the good time he had at home. He recalled his grandmother saying “be like the moon,” meaning that when the moon comes out, everyone is happy to see it. He has dreams of killings and dying painful deaths. All he wants is to be happy like he was. The rebels sent messengers to Mattru Jong, warning of their arrival. Everyone soon after went into hiding, and shortly the rebels came, just like they said. Shooting and killing civilians, everyone that could still walk raced to get out of the town, by the only exit, the river. Ishmael and his friends all made it out, but more pain was to come. Feelings of starvation and fatigue over whelmed them, so without a choice, they went back to Mattru Jong for food and money. Even though it was a dangerous trip, it was also successful by getting the food and money they needed. While walking on a path, three rebels captured them, along with fifteen others, and took them all to a nearby town. The rebels plan didn’t work how they wanted it to though. While interrogating and choosing strong fugitives to become rebels, the rebels were distracted with shooting close by. The fugitives used it to their advantage, escaping and running far away.

So far, I have loved the book. It captured my attention right away, and hasn’t bored me at all. It is so interesting to me how the rebels treated people and what kind of things they did to the community... and they thought that they were doing it for the better good of Sierra Leone. The rebels scarred many people for life, even if they didn't do it physicly, it was done mentally. From the title, Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, I think that Ishmael will be captured by the rebels and become a soldier.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

This I Believe

1. A link to the essay

2. Author
Chris Huntington

3. Title
Becoming a Parent Is a Gift

–4. One sentence of what the belief is
I believe in adoption

–5. 2 examples from the story that showed their belief
ex 1:becoming a parent is a gift you make to the universe and that the universe makes to you

ex 2:I can see that becoming a parent is much more than our biology.

–6. 1 favorite passage
People think we're good or generous because we're giving a home to an orphan, and giving her a family but the truth is she'll be giving us a family.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

One goal for my sophmore year is...

For my sophomore year, my goal is to get as good of grades as I did last year. Since this is the first year that counts toward college, I want to start it off right. I really want to get into a good school, and I have a lot of pressure to do so, and the first step is getting good grades. I know that it will be hard, but it is important to me, and I know that I can do it!

The thing I am most anxious about at Edina High School is...

This year at school, I am most anxious about keeping up with my homework. Since we no longer have an a-day b-day schedule, I am nervous that I will fall behind in some of my classes work. I am also nervous about how hard the courses will be. All of the teachers give the impression that there class is much different from middle school classes, so I just hope that it isn’t too hard for me.