Thursday, December 3, 2015

From Child to Child Soldier: December 3, 2015

Focus: What happens when a child becomes a child solider?

1. Warming up with an quick overview of your final exam

2. Reading and reacting to an article on child soldiers

As you read this article, find three separate sentences, copy each into your A Long Way Gone brainstorming document, and simply let yourself react to each one.

3. Entering A Long Way Gone Fishbowl #3: Chapters 12-14

4. Wrapping up with the following question:
  • What happens to a child (mentally, physically, emotionally) when he becomes a child soldier?
  • Another way of looking at it: What parts of himself must he leave behind? How does this happen?


HW: 
1. Finish "Connecting Clauses, Take 1" on www.noredink.com if you have not yet done so.

2. We will read Chapter 15 in class tomorrow; whatever we don't finish will be homework for Monday.

128 comments:

  1. "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 feel any better." (p. 122) This quote shows how much anger has built up inside Ishmael. Is it possible for his pain to go away? How could he get rid of it?

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    1. I think Ishmael realizes that he won't feel better about his parents by murdering the rebels. He has no way of facing his dark past about his family being killed

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  2. On page 114 the corporal said, "If you are religious, I mean a Christian, worship your lord today". Do the government and rebels use religion as an excuse?

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    1. I think that religion is one important factor when it comes to excuses. However, they also use other motives such as convincing the children that the rebels killed their parents and they have to avenge them. With that tied in with religion, the soldiers think they are doing the right thing by murdering innocent people.

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  3. I think by fighting the rebels Ishmael can numb the pain and forget for a little but the only way he will lose is pain is by accepting what happened and moving on.

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    1. I agree with what you said. He needs to accept it and move on. If he doesn't accept it, he will still have that pain every day.

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  4. on page 118, "The branches of the trees looked as if they were holding hands and bowing their heads in prayer." Is this image actually there or is this a part of him becoming insane?

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    1. I think the author is just trying to paint a picture in the readers mind. I don't think Ishmael is insane but it could also be the drugs making him see things that aren't there.

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  5. "My squad is my family, my gun is my provider, and protector, and my rule is to kill or be killed" P.116. This quote by Ishmael in chapter 13 symbolizes his transition from an innocent boy to a fearless child soldier. He is very convinced of these beliefs so do you think he will ever change his mindset about war and guns?

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    1. Yes, I think after the war was over and he had some time to vent everything that happened he was against war even though he has been a part of it at one point.

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    2. I think he is only convinced of this because the drugs are clouding his thoughts and taking away all the feelings he used to have. If/when the war ends and he stops taking drugs i think its possible for him to change.

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    3. I think he's seen some things of war but by being a soldier he will see stuff he never thought he'd see before. He will experience killing people, and he will carry that trauma with him. After seeing what he will see he will decide war and guns aren't the way to go.

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  6. Pg 105 "Just before the last hours of night, the moon sailed through the clouds, showing its face through the open window of the building before it was driven away by a cockcrow." The moon symbolizes his safety I believe and how he says it sailed through the clouds but then quickly disappeared showing how his safety appears then quickly is taken away.

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  7. The quote that begins on page 107, when the lieutenant showed the dead bodies to the children then said afterwards that it was to show them the situation that they are in. How do you think people think of the lieutenant, how do you think the lieutenant looks at the children?

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    1. I think the lieutenant sees the children as the ultimate devotion to his government. The government was a lot more hesitant toward recruiting children in the war but when the lieutenant realized that if he didn't recruit the children everybody would die. He sees the war as justifying his actions of using children as pawns.

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    2. I think he looks at the children as his slaves kind of, he is teaching them what the war has done with other people, and the jobs that they need to do. So I think that he looks at the children as vulnerable and can take control of the children.

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  8. On page 125, the last paragraph, it says, "I had a tent to myself, which I never slept in because sleep never came to me." What do you think Ishmael means when he said sleep never came to me?

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    1. I think this shows the stress combined with the use of drugs and the violent things that he has seen that keeps him from sleeping.

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    2. I think he is saying he could never sleep because of how many drugs they were on at most of the time which kept them awake. He later said something about not sleeping for a week which is obviously due to the drugs that "give them energy"

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    3. I think it means that he's seen so many gruesome things that it's starting to get to him and keeping him from sleeping. It could also be a factor of fear and making sure he's awake to always protect himself. But I'm sure it has to do with something mentally

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    4. I think it means that he couldn't sleep. He had taken so many drugs that would keep him and up and he has had so many terrible things happen to him that they could keep him up at night.

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  10. "We need the help of able boys and men to fight these rebels. This is your time to revenge he deaths of your families and to make sure more children don't lose their families,"(106). Why do the generals bring back the thought of their dead families? I this what this force is all about, revenge?

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    1. I think it makes them fight harder because they are going against the people who tore down their village and killed their families.

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  12. on page 122 it says "We walked for long hours and stopped only to eat sardines and corned beef with gari, sniff cocaine, brown brown, and take some white capsules. the combination of these drugs gave us a lot of energy and made us fierce " Do these kids realize that the drugs are altering their mind or do the just take them because the rebels are forcing them to? What can these drugs make the kids do that the wouldn't do normally?

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    1. The drugs are just a way for the government to control the children easily. If the kids weren't on drugs they would be very sensitive to killing other men but when they are on the white capsules they feel numb to the atrocities they see.

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    2. I agree with Graham and because these drugs are so highly addictive, it would keep the kids loyal and keep coming back for more. The adults can use this to their advantage later in the book by bribing the soldiers with cocaine or other drugs

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  13. Do you see any differences between the government and the rebels?

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    1. The government is a little more advanced morally. The town of Yele was a peaceful place for refugees to live but it only turned bad when the rebels were knocking on the door. I think the government realizes that they have to fight fire with fire by using child soldiers against the rebels.

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    2. This is a good question because both parties are corrupt just as bad and they both commit horrible acts.

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  14. The way that the "government" is treating their soldiers as if they are robots. Based off of previous discussions, Would you trust the Sierra Leone government to control their soldiers?

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    1. Yes because they want to provide the citizens with a safe place to stay. The rebels would create a strict code if they were in control but Yele is an example of the government wanting to provide for their citizens.

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    2. I agree that they would want to provide for them but I wouldn't trust them to do it the right way. The intentions might be right but they are still doing the wrong thing.

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  15. do you think ishmael understands the severity of what he is doing?

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    1. Not at the moment because he is on so many drugs he is oblivious to everything that is happening besides killing which he is pretty much addicted to right now.

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    2. I think the drugs has altered the way he is thinking and I think he is unaware of the things that he is doing.

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    3. Not entirely because of all the drugs that he is constantly on. He has no time to look back and think about his actions. Not until later on will he realize the things he has done and how serious they were.

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    4. I agree with Matt, he does not know the severity of what he is doing. What is really making him do these drugs, what do you think it helps him with?

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  16. Referring to the hero's journey, do you think Ishmael is at his lowest low at this point or can it get lower?

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    1. It can definitely be lower, for example, if he finds his parents dead or hears they are dead he will be at his lowest point.

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    2. I've read the book before and... it gets lower.

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    3. What Beah is doing now is terrible, but if he finds his parents dead as well, this will devastate him to his lowest low.

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  17. "My mind had not only snapped during the first killing, it also stopped making remorseful records,"(122). Does this mean that he is now a heartless monster?

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    1. I think this just shows how numb he is to all the violence that is an everyday experience that he has to see and witness.

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  18. I think it represents that he is becoming an animal and he just doesn't care anymore because he didn't do anything when the dog stole their meat earlier in the book so he gave up already.

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    1. No, both seem like they are aimlessly fighting, taking drugs, and killing as many people as they can. I don't see much of a difference between the two.

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    2. I've answered this question three times

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    3. I agree with Jacob, they both have the same technique on "winning" the war. I think the real question is if this is the right technique on "winning" the war?


      But I answered this question already

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  20. What do you the white capsules that Beah is addicted to? Are they really just energy pills or are they something stronger or more dangerous?

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    1. I think they are definitely stronger and more dangerous than "energy pills". A pill to give you energy would not morph you - with the help of the government - into a child soldier like that.

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  21. How do the drugs help him psychologically? Does this help him at all?

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    1. Well if he wasn't on the drugs then he wouldn't be doing any of this so yeah it helps him kill people but it doesn't help him positively

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    2. The drugs did absolutely nothing good for him. It seemed they cleared his mind of any dwindling emotion and turned him into a angry, and violent person. He thinks he is doing is the right thing.

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  22. Why does Ishmael bring up how certain situations up, like how he said that the silence torments him? Will this ever change, or will he keep these feelings close to him?

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  23. "My mind had not only snapped during the first killing, it also stopped making remorseful records,"-Page 122. I think that this quote describes how his perception on the world is changing and he is essentially being brainwashed.

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    1. Ishmael has lost all of his innocence. He is no longer the person he used to be that we saw earlier in the book.

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  24. Page 101
    "There were over thirty boys between the ages of seven and sixteen."
    This really hit me because thats a lot of under age fighters. I think that the worst part is they didn't know what was coming. They didn't know what would really be taken away from them.

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    1. I agree, It's really hard to imagine kids and teenagers around our age fighting and killing people. It's even more shocking that they are forced into it.

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    2. I agree with your point. I think that the children began losing their innocence the moment that this all began. I think that the moment they became rebels themselves the only innocence they had left was drained from them.

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  25. If Ishamel were to come across his family while he is in the rebel army and is attacking a village what would he do in that moment?

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    1. A difficult moment like this, many thoughts would be going on in his head. He could just break down, or even have a thought of committing suicide to end all his pain.

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  26. Now that we know that not even the military of the government are civilized or helpful, it really shows the helplessness of this situation.

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  27. Page 102
    "Life was not lived in fear during the day in this village."
    The child soldier leaders are making the kids think that they are their friends so that they will trust them. This is part of the reason that they are brainwashed.

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  28. The drugs may be the only thing driving him. Or is it seeing his friends die?

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    1. I think that it is all of the above, the drugs yeah that numbs the pain but seeing your friends die? That would honestly just make you angry enough to fight harder.

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    2. I'd say it is the drugs. They have made him numb physically and mentally, to the point where killing doesn't affect him

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    3. I think drugs are taking control over his mind so he has kinda forgotten about everyone important to him

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    4. I think seeing his friends die is his internal drive, and then the drugs are his way of being able to carry out this drive.

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  29. "That morning didn't come just with sunrise; it brought with it soldiers, the few who were able to make it back to the village."
    Why would he add the sunrise? What kind of significant could that mean to him? What does it symbolize? Why wouldn't he just say "That morning.."? What was important about the sunrise?

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  30. "The carpal gave the signal with a pistol shot and I grabbed the man's head and slit his throat in one fluid motion." 125

    How do you think moments like this will effect him in the long run? Right now it seems, as if he feels nothing when he does it.

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  31. When the lieutenant asks Ishmael about what he remembers from Julius Caesar on page 104 he repeats the quote, "Cowards die many times before their deaths." How do you think that relates to this book?

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  32. Has Ishmael lost all hope in finding his parents again?

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    1. I think so. After seeing what they do to people, I feel that he thinks there is no possibility his parents survived.

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  33. I think that he must have been so out of it by then because of the drugs that he may not be capable of being motivated because of his friends deaths. Ishmael was an addict and he was driven by an inner need for drugs so that he could be numb again.

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  34. Has Ishmael excepted that his parents are dead before he knows that they are dead?

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    1. I don't think he has because if so I don't believe he would want to continue trying to survive through the war.

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    2. I don't think he necessarily knows for sure that they are dead but I think he is tired of looking and giving up hope because he is always one step behind.

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  35. On page 116 " I have never been so afraid to go anywhere in my as I was that day". After reading the article is that what every child solider thinks?

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    1. I think every soldier in general not just the children will fear that they might never return home.

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  36. "In the daytime, instead of playing soccer in the village square, I took turns at the guarding posts around the village, smoking marijuana and sniffing brown brown, cocaine mixed with gunpowder, which was always spread out on the table, and of course taking more white capsules, as I had become addicted to them." (p. 121) It is despairing to think that Ishmael went from casually playing soccer with his friends, to becoming addicted to several different types of drugs. The drugs have become addicting in both a physical and mental sense. The physical is obvious, but it is mental because he is filling the void that his family and his village once occupied with drug use.

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    1. I believe that it is. To be humane you need to feel emotions, and fear is one of the strongest ones. If you don't have any fear than you wouldn't be able to make decisions.

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  38. If ishmael had a sign, or a reason to continue looking for his parents, would he do it or leave it alone?

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  39. Was winning the killing competition worth what it cost him mentally? And do you think that his fear of the leaders and their killing nature will subside and he will become more afraid of himself and who he has become?

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  40. Without the drugs, would Ishmael be a child soldier still?

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    1. He probably wouldn't fight, and then be killed like the other kids.

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    2. I think he would because he wouldn't have a choice. I don't think that he would be the same solider who is so willing to fight. The drugs make him more willing to do what he is told.

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    3. I think that Ishmael would be in a completely different place without the drugs. He has morals even as a young child and I think if he didn't have the drugs he would have refused to fight and then been killed.

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    4. I think so but I don't know if he will make it as long.

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  41. "I didn't feel a thing for him; didn't think much about what I was doing." You can tell that he's been changed into a different person. No little kid feels a lack of remorse like this unless they're a sociopath, or they're drugged out into oblivion.

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  42. What would Ishmael's parents say to him if they saw him in his current state?

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    1. I think they would be happy that he's alive, but horrified at his current situation.

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  43. On page 115 he knows that they are not doing a drill but everyone else thinks it's real but how does Ishmael know it's not a drill

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  44. Is Ishmael's now security by being a soldier an additional motivation?

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    1. I think it is. He might not we aware of it but I think that he still has the drive to stay alive and this is the best way to do that.

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  45. How does Ishmael feel of himself? Does he even feel like he's still him? Where does his mind go when he's forced to do some things he doesn't want to?

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    1. I think that Ishmael's mind is completely gone and has no sense of what he is doing.

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    2. I think he has reached a point where he doesn't feel anything. He is constantly trying to keep himself occupied and he has now become afraid to sleep because he doesn't want to cope with the dreams that might occur.

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  46. But what if he was attacking a village that his parents were at? Would the drugs override his feelings of seeing them and using them as his motivation to survive?

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    1. I think he would have recognized who his family was, but the drugs wouldn't let him process it. I don't know how he would've reacted to seeing them.

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  47. I don't think he would last long if he tried to leave the army because he is addicted drugs now probably

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  48. I think Ishamel is doing what ever he can to keeping on moving forward in his life knowing that this could just be a small patch in life there is still tat good that can always come later and thats his drive I think is knowing that he can if you will get to the other side of the rainbow is how I picture his situation and what he is doing to get through this and to live on.

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  49. "We took the guns and ammunition off the bodies of my friends and left them there in the forest, which had taken on a life of its own, as if it had trapped the should that had departed from the dead." page 119
    Whats that feeling like? How do you live past that?

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  50. Personally I did not think that the government army did just as awful things as the rebels in the case of killing civilians and killing the rebels so gruesomely. What are you're thoughts on this?

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  51. Ishmael is clearly not himself anymore. He has lost all innocence, and he has no problem with killing. How will this affect his daily life as an adult?

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  52. Do you think the government army is any better than the rebels?

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  53. If children are taught at a young age that it's okay to kill, at what age should they realize what they're doing?

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    1. If they're growing up and surrounded by people who think that it's ok, they may never know the truth.

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  54. Should Ishmael be forgiven for what he did as a child?

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  55. Mentally, they lose all innocence. He leaves his 'child' self behind.

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  56. Ishmael must leave any feeling of sympathy when he becomes a child soldier.

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  58. When a child becomes a soldier, they really are not a child anymore. They are still developing and when they grow up, only learning to kill and hate, it is going to be with them their whole life.

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  59. I think once they become a soldier they are almost numb because they have no regret for killing but they don't have a reason to keep surviving.

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  60. What do Amir and Ishmael have in common? And how to their stories differ?

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    1. I believe both of them are going through struggles, but they differ in how they handle it. Ishmael thinks "Tears had begun to form in my eyes, but I struggled to hide them and gripped my gun in comfort". This shows how Ishmael automatically ignores his emotions, while Amir's emotions consume him.

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  61. He leaves behind his childhood and his humanity and he basicly has to remeber nothing behind himself

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  62. When a child becomes a soldier, they grow up really quickly. The maturation process just shoots upwards, and they have to learn to cope with what has happened, or they won't be able to function as a person.

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  63. What happens to a child when he becomes a child soldier?
    A child no longer is a child. They grow past that. They don't have that parent source to tell them from right or wrong so they have to go with there own thoughts which are taken from them when they do drugs and are brainwashed.

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  64. When he becomes an child solider he stops being a child. He leaves all of the innocence and his childhood. He has to leave behind everything that makes him a the child that he was.

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  65. What happens to a child when he becomes a child soldier?
    A child no longer is a child. They grow past that. They don't have that parent source to tell them from right or wrong so they have to go with there own thoughts which are taken from them when they do drugs and are brainwashed.

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  66. The phrase "Fire on my command" seen in chapter 13 of page 117 has a deeper meaning in my opinion. It shows a validation that Ishmael and other child soldiers really don't have control any more. What do you think the lost thoughts were of Ishmael before he was no longer in control?

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