Thursday, December 10, 2015

Final Fishbowl: December 10, 2015

Focus: What does Beah want us to understand?

1. Warming up: Viewing two interviews with Ishmael Beah
  • Please open your A Long Way Gone brainstorming document.
  • As you watch these two interviews, please take notes in response to today's focus question: what does Beah want us to understand?
CBS News
Jon Stewart

2. Enjoying our final fishbowl discussion of A Long Way Gone

3. Wrapping up with one big takeaway

HW:
1. "Quiz" tomorrow on Connecting Clauses, Take 2.

2. If you have not yet finished gathering quotations for your found poem, do that tonight. You will have another 10-15 minutes to create the poem tomorrow.

3. Monday, December 14 will be the last day to turn in any revisions or make-up work for this class. NO WORK WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER THIS DATE. 

106 comments:

  1. How long do you think it took Ishmael before he could openly talk about his past?
    Pg.184

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    1. I think it took Ishmael a really long time because he has been through so much death an killing. This has change everything about him and his future.

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    2. I think that it took him a long time to get to a point where he could openly talk about his past. He was using drugs so that he would not think about the killings and repressed those memories with the use of more drugs.

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    3. You can tell from the book that it takes him a long time. He is not even open to share it with Allie, who he is staying with, after 8 months of talking about it with Esther.

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    4. With the things he has seen in his life I feel like it would take some time to open up about what you have seen and done.

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  2. On page 199 Ishmael says, "What I have learned from my experiences is that revenge is not good." What gave him this realization?

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    2. The most powerful motivator for the child soldiers was imagining that the rebels killed their parents. If the rebel and government armies didn't use that against the children it wouldn't cause such a large gap between himself and common humanity.

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    3. I think that he came to that realization when he came into contact with the other child soldiers and learned that they were also in the "army", and he was just killing children that weren't much different from him.

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  4. How different would Ishmael's life be if he had moved into one of his close family's house, like his father or grandmother?

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    1. It might have sped the recovery process up, but after coming back from the war he changed a lot, so any comfort is most likely welcome to him.

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  5. "When I raised my hands, my pants fell down and some of the passengers laughed. The soldier picked up my pants and tied them with a shoelace that he had in his pocket" Why did this particular soldier help Ishmael when his pants fell by tying them with a shoelace? pg 215

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    1. I feel the soldier has not lost his humanity entirely and maybe the soldier has had past experiences where he has been embarrassed. Just the fact he helped Ishmael shows the hope that some people have in the war.

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  6. What does the monkey story represent in terms of the politics of Sierra Leone?

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    1. In my opinion, the monkey represents the uncontrolled part of the country, and the hunter represents someone with an opinion against the non-government. A corrupt government can look like both the monkey and the hunter though... Corruptness being the uncontrolled monkey and the hunter being their opinion against the rebels. The rebels can also have both traits as well...

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    2. I think the monkey could represent the rebels fighting the government because the rebels were going to kill you either way, so if you shoot the monkey someone you love will die but if you don't then the same thing would happen.

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    3. I think it means what Ishmael thinks we have to do to fix the country, so that future generations of people don't have to go through what he did.

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  7. Has Ishmael completed his hero's journey?

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    1. Yes, I would consider Ishmael a hero and I think he has completed the hero's journey.

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    2. He has completed the circle of the hero's journey because he finally moves to America, where he can stay safe. So that is kind of the part of the journey where he is returning home, but better.

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    3. I believe Ishmael has completed his journey. He went to the lowest of the low and came back strong and is now in a better situation than ever. He has lost so much family and loved ones, but when you think about the success of his book and his new life in America, he has finish the hero's journey

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    4. I think he has because he has overcame so much and has left it all in the past. So yes I think because he's been able to over come everything, he has completed the hero's journey.

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  8. How do you think the appearance of soldiers and gunfire on page 202 affected Ishmael? Was he already far enough out from his experience with the war or was the experience traumatizing?

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    1. The way he describes the events, I think he understood it and he reverted to a survival stance. He'd already experienced this before and understood it better than the city people, which probably traumatized them more.

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    2. I don't think Ishmael was affected by what had happened because he had gone through this in his daily life for 2-3 years. Later on when he was trapped in the alley way waiting for nightfall, he stated on page 206, "It was their first time, and it was painful to watch." Ishmael isn't affected by the initial gunshots but he has to fight to contain his anger.

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  9. "I lay in my bed night after night staring at the ceiling and thinking, why have I survived the war,"(179). Does he think he is lucky now?

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    1. I think it's more of survivors guilt than luck. Many people question, why they survived and someone else didn't. They don't understand why they have been spared when others weren't

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  10. In reply to Sam's point about what if Ishmael had not been recruited to be the spokesperson of the rehab center, I think he wouldn't have been as involved with the community of people recovering and not had the opportunity to go to America. The trip to America changed everything for him and he knew where to run to when he had to escape.

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  11. When Ishmael arrived to the YMCA hotel and had breakfast, he mentioned that there were children there with rough lives and childhoods. He also mentioned that some of them would go back,(196). Is thins when he will start the process of forgiving and caring for other people?

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    1. I dont know if that is actually where it started but that is a good example of his compassionate heart. He cared about the people because he understood what they were doing through because he was doing the same thing.

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  12. Is there a way to be good again?

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    1. Yes, and I think that Ishmael has achieved that. He recovered from the drugs and brainwashing he was under and became very involved in stopping the use of child soldiers. The fact that he can look back on the events and write a book with the cause of awareness to the issue shows that he is in no way the same person as he was during the war. Ishmael is definitely good again.

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    2. I agree with garret, Ishmael is good again. He totally turned away from the evil that he was involved in and is now a man who is "good".

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  13. I was always losing everything that meant something to me... who is going to take care of us now? Why does thins happen in the most difficult times,(208). This was said when the uncle dies form one of the cousins, why is now the time for self pity?

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    1. I think he can now think normally because he doesn't have the need to feel scared. He's honestly been through hell and back and I think now is the time for self pity because he doesn't have to worry about the war and danger. He has time to think about himself.

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  14. On page 202 Ishmael says, "The more we talked about it, the more i realized that i had forgotten what it felt like to be a student, to sit in class, to take notes, do homework, make friends, and provoke other students. I was eager to return."
    How do you think Ishmael would respond to these new things if it were earlier, closer to the war? Would he be scared to face society, or mad at them, or would he be the same?

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  15. How different would his recovery be if he had been recruited by the RUF?

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  17. Ishmael says he would shoot the monkey, killing his mother, to end the monkey giving this predicament to other hunters. This makes me realize that sometimes you must take the pain because you can withstand it and grow past it, but others could not and they would eventually break mentally and physically.

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  18. One takeaway from A Long Way Gone is that once hope is given up, there is no reason to live anymore. There were two instances I recall where hope was brought up right before someone dies. On page 208, "... and I could see in his eyes that he had given up hope. His lips were about to utter something, but they stopped shaking, and he was gone." Ishmael lived becuase he never gave up the hope he had that he would survive. No matter what situation, if you have hope, you wont fail.

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  19. In the beginning of chapter 19, Ishmael explains his uncle soon takes him in. How do you think Ishmael's friends he made back at Benin Home feel about his leave?

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  20. How will Ishmael leaving the Benin home affect him? Will he count it as a loss of some sorts?

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    1. Yes, I do think he will count it because he later says that after his leave he never sees his friends again. This is extremely unfortunate because those were the only friends he managed to make during the harsh times of rehabilitation.

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    2. I think he won't be happy about having to leave his friends behind, but overall will consider it a good things because it's the next step of healing.

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  21. In the end of the book, we read the small story of the monkey and the hunter...would you agree with Ishmael's decision of shooting the monkey?

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    1. I don't know if I agree personally but I think it makes sense why he would say this after everything he's been through.

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  22. What if Ishmael did keep running? What if he never got captured by the government, what if he never killed any one? What nightmares would that bring? Would he survive? Where would he be today?

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    1. I believe Ishmael would honestly be dead. No one would even know of his story

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    2. I think that even if he was not captured, his life would still be hard. If we was not caught he would still be scavenging for food and anything else he needs would be hard for him to get. He could have even ended up dead.

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    3. I dont think he would be alive because i think that he needed to kill people to stay alive, i dont agree with infusing drugs into someones lifestyle to make them soldiers. But going from village to village with out any sort of protection and anything to offer the only thing he could do was take and kill, and as sad as it is, its what he had to do

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  23. Does seeing war make him abetter person in his life?

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    1. I don't think it was the war that made him a better person I think it was overcoming it. When he was seeing the war and living it he was a much worse person than he was before. However after he finished his rehabilitation he came out a better person.

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    2. I don't know about a better person but it makes him have a better understanding and concept of life and how crazy it can be.

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    3. I don't necessarily think it made him a better person but I do believe it made him a person that made him realize to not take anything for granted, to not give up hope, and always motivate himself for future goals he sets in his life. Even without the war I think Ishmael would be considered to be a better person as well. The experience of war and trauma does not need to take action in order to improve someone.

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    4. I don't think that seeing war made him a "better" person because nobody wants to see the front line of a horrific war in their lifetime. But I do believe that through the war and the way that he recovered from the war it made him a better person than he was before the war.

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    5. The war made him realize how fragile life really is. I think that he now knows the true meaning of being human.

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    6. I don't think it would make him a better person, but in a way I think it makes him a stronger person and someone who appreciates life a lot more than someone who hasn't been through a war. He is more appreciative of family, friends, and life in general.

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    7. Being in the war doesn't make him better, but it makes him realize how bad things are and how he can turn his life around.

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    8. Thank you all for answering my question.

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    9. I believe that it is teaching himself that moving on is possible and there is an actual way to be good again.

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    10. I don't think that seeing war made him a "better" person because nobody wants to see the front line of a horrific war in their lifetime. But I do believe that through the war and the way that he recovered from the war it made him a better person than he was before the war.

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  24. "I had to leave, because I was afraid that if I stayed in Freetown any longer, I was going to end up being a solider again or my former army friends would kill me if I refused." (209) How ofter do you think he feels afraid of becoming a solider again?

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    1. I think his fear is something that will always be there, especially considering what he has seen. I think it will probably be often, even if he is healing.

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  25. How do you feel Ishmal's life would be like now if he never went to NYC?

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  26. On page 199 Ishmael says "What I have learned from my experiences is that revenge is not good." Why did he realize this now?

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    1. I think he realized this just now because when the war began while he was in Matru Jong he believed that he'd never find his family again. So later on he considers his family already being shot by the rebels thus causing a reaction of rage from him, wanting to avenge their deaths by killing the group that ripped him away from his family. Then after a little while, I think he realized that if he wanted revenge he would go kill a rebel, then that rebels family would want to avenge their family member, then so on and so on, and later it just turns into a long chain of never ending revenge.

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    2. He probably just didn't know it before because he was an innocent child, and this forced him to get rid of his childhood and I'm sure he realized this now because he is finally healing and thinking back to something he understands more now than he did before he became a soldier.

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  27. I believe that Ishmael Beah wants his audience to understand that humanity can be recovered with trust and persistence. A major issue that Beah faced with regaining his humanity was to not dread on the past.

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  28. Comparing the book to some of the interviews, Ishmael seems like a totally different person. He didn't go back to his old self before the war, he changed. But he wasn't basing his lives on his tragedies, he was conquering them and letting issues like his past be herd.

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  29. What effect has Beahs story had on people throughout the world? What did this story do to you?

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    1. I think his story has brought a lot of awareness to his issue. I like to think that this book has had an impact on ending the practice of children fighting in wars all over the world

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    2. I think that his story opens the eyes of some people and exposes them to what is happening elsewhere in the world. I think sometimes we can be closed off to terrible things that are happening in the world and his story spreads awareness to it.

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    3. I think it brought the child soldier problem to light in the world. Being able to be at an absolute low and then raise yourself up and become more joyful and happy in life is the concept that I took out of it.

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  30. To answer Logan's question: on page 197 Ishmael says "Bah and I became a little close with Laura and Therese...". This is important because it is the first step to recovery. He is beginning to trust others once again.

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  31. "I think my troublesome days are long gone" How does this quote from Ishmael relate to the title? Why does he say this is a saddened tone?

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    1. I think he says it in a sad tone because he also had good times in his past with his friends from his home and now he is further from them as he gets older.

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  32. To answer the inner circles question, I think Ishmael went through more than Amir. Amir obviously had a lot to think about in his head and a lot of regret, but Ishamel had to kill and struggle through the war.

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  34. "I lay in my bed night after night staring at the ceiling and thinking, why have I survived the war,"(179). Why do you think that Ishmael is not cherishing living, but is questioning why he was one of the few that survived?

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    1. I feel like he's focusing more on that question because his days of difficulty didn't end. So maybe as time progressed as he experienced the risk of trying to get on a plane and fly to New York without being shot, the experience of being a childhood soldier, etc. he probably wonders that since he was one of the few that survived the war, his life should improve a lot..but it's not and I guess maybe that's why he's focusing on that question rather than cherishing his life.

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    2. I don't think he is necessarily not cherishing the fact that he lived, but I'm sure one of his initial thoughts is why he survived after everything he did. Or ever why he deserved it.

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  35. "We looked at each other in awe of how absolutely amazing and crowded the place was." page 198
    Its weird to read something like this because this is all we see. We are used to places like this. It's normal. But knowing that to people from other countries this is amazing, it's kind of sad. We could have been helping them out more with the money we spent on our own entertainment. I think that is Americas biggest problem because we are more focused on our selves and how to make our lives better instead of selflessness giving that money to other people to make there lives better.

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  36. On page 218 Ishmeal concludes the book by saying, "I concluded to myself that if I were the hunter, I would shoot the monkey so that it would no longer have the chance to put other hunters in the same predicament." Why do you think Ishmael ended the book on this? How does this show the selflessness of Ishmael?

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  37. What do you think the biggest difference between Amir and Ishmael is? How do they compare?

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    1. In retrospect, I considered Amir as a coward whereas Ishmael is seen as a hero. Both characters are extremely diverse from each other because Amir came from a past where his one regret haunts him for the rest of his life and Beah comes from being forced into being a childhood soldier.

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    2. I think the biggest difference is how aware they were. Amir was sober and able to entirely understand what was happening, while Ishmael was on drugs and not able to comprehend what he was doing.

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  38. How does Ishmael's journey to the US compare to Amir's? How are they different?

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    2. Ishmael had more of a healing journey, and trying to regain his humanity as well as accepting what happened. However, Amir's was more to forget what happened and pretend it never happened, rather than accepting and healing.

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  39. "Because if I get killed upon my return, I knew that a memory of my existence was alive somewhere in the world." I admire the profoundness of this statement. It is clear that Ishmael's priorities have changed since the beginning of the book.

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  40. "My conception of New York City came from rap music. I envisioned it a place where people shot each other on the street and got away with it."Page 1093. I feel like this is like some people's view on boy soldiers if they are un aware of what's happening then they view boy soliders on kids that are killing innocent families. But if you read his book and have a good understanding of what's happening then you have a different view on the whole situation. Just like when Ishmael got to NYC and saw how it was nothing like he thought.

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  41. Thinking about what Zach and Ben were just discussing...very interesting to think about both authors' commentary on the destructive power of brainwashing. I think both texts are demanding that pay attention to how people treat each other and refuse to accept social brainwashing as an excuse.

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  42. Why did they make Ishmael go back to his family in Sierra Leone? What would have happened if the government had better security? Why did this old friends from rehabilitation join the army again? Would he go back if he heard the war was over? How would he react if everyone that he met abandon him? "I was always losing everything that meant something to me." (208)

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  43. On page 217 when the story teller asks the question "What would you do if you were the hunter?", What would you do? Would you shoot the monkey like Ishmael? Or would you let one of your parents die?

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    1. I would probably shoot the monkey like Ishmael. Not because I hate my mother, but because he gave us a perception that he'd shoot it so no other hunter would run into the same monkey with the same situation.

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  44. On page 208 Ishmael says "My uncle was buried the next morning." What do you think this death was like for him? Like knowing how many people he has killed/ seen killed, I wonder what he was thinking.

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    1. I think it gave him perspective on what he had done to other families while he was fighting (even though it wasn't his fault).

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  45. Directing the focus of Ishmael's uncle's family's condition when the government crashes and the bullets start firing, do you think it was wise Ishmael left his family behind when they were suffering from his uncle's death?

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  46. To also answer the inner circles question, I think its really good for him to be able to tell his story. I can't imagine keeping that all bottled up. I think its important for people to hear about what is going on and how these kids are being treated. Its such a hard topic to be like happy to be sharing his story, but I think it will and has helped him recover.

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  47. to respond to the inner circles question... I think the title in the beginning mean that he is a long way gone from his family and his humanity. At the end of the book the title takes on a new meaning that he is a long way gone from the evil that he was previously involved in and a long way gone from his inhumanity.

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  48. Everyone is touched by Ishmael's story because he was forced into becoming a soldier at such a young age. It makes me very sad to think that this little boy was forced into killing people; but I think the most important thing to take away from the story is the journey that he had coming out of such an awful place in life.

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  49. I think, initially, it was easy to assume that a long way gone meant something negative, like he was a long way gone from his family or his humanity. However, now that I have finished the book, I think that it is a positive. I think now he is a long way gone from the atrocities that were committed and he has now become fully human again.

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  50. I think that in a way, Ishmael and Amir are very alike in ways that they were trying to find their family. Amir was looking acceptance and love from his family, and Ismael just wanted to find his family to love again.
    Another thing that is alike between Ishmael and Amir is that they both went to the U.S. They both want something better for themselves and a better life.
    I think an important line of the book is the last one. The monkey represents an enemy in a way. I think ismael is trying to say you have to do something right yourself or someone else is going to do it, and do it better. If something like that happens, you lose.

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  51. I think that in a way, Ishmael and Amir are very alike in ways that they were trying to find their family. Amir was looking acceptance and love from his family, and Ismael just wanted to find his family to love again.
    Another thing that is alike between Ishmael and Amir is that they both went to the U.S. They both want something better for themselves and a better life.
    I think an important line of the book is the last one. The monkey represents an enemy in a way. I think ismael is trying to say you have to do something right yourself or someone else is going to do it, and do it better. If something like that happens, you lose.

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  52. I think that the title A long way gone means more then just one thing throughout the whole book so there is not just one meaning for it but if I had to chose one after finishing the book I think it would be that he is a long way gone from the right of society and what must be done by all people of a society for it to survive because he has joined up with a group that destroys societies and what they have accomplished so he is the opposite in a way of the person he was before the war. He didn't do drugs or kill before the war he was a very peaceful person. So he is in a way a long way gone from his other self.

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