A Long Way Gone Chapter 1-2 Response

I never thought that the boys in this story would be English-speaking. I was surprised when he was talking about rappers that I have heard of and how he and his friends are able to sing and dance along with the music. It was also surprising to me that they have picked up certain phrases from the music with which they would depart. It is clear that the music is very important to the boys because they take the cassettes with them when they leave for Mattru Jong. I also never expected that the boys would actually have their own dance group. I found it humorous when the author was talking about how he and his friends would make their “crapes” look puffy and wear layers of clothes for dancing.    

In chapter 2, I felt a rush from the author’s description of the battle ground dream. When the author writes about the breeze carrying the cries of the dying and the intestines of the victims spread on the ground, it reminds me of a horror movie where the “lone-survivor” is walking through the wreckage as the credits scroll up the screen. Also, the way he writes about just walking through the distorted bodies and the burnt flesh with the warmth of his gun on his back almost makes it seem like he has a sense of self-accomplishment. However, at the same time, I know that no boy soldier would ever feel that way. As the passage goes on I feel the adrenaline rush begin to fade as it is replaced by sadness and a sense of foreboding as he lifts the cloth from the body he is carrying and discovers that it is his own body staining the cloth with blood. It is depressing when the author talks about not wanting to go back to sleep because of the fear of the memories he doesn’t want to have that come back to him in his dreams.

One passage that stood out to me was “I was afraid to fall asleep, but staying awake also brought back painful memories. Memories I sometimes wish I could wash away, even though I am aware that they are an important part of what my life is; who I am now…These days I live in three worlds: my dreams, and the experiences of my life, which trigger memories from the past” (page 19-20). This passage is important to me because it made me understand that not only was being a boy soldier a horror for the author at the time it happened, but it is an anathema that he will carry with him for the rest of his life. It is saddening that his dreams and experiences trigger the memories from his soldier-hood. This passage made me better understand the terror that boy soldiers went through and will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

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~ by kristinsundvall on October 20, 2009.

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