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Pre AICE Language Summer Assignment2012

How familiar were you with the civil wars of sierra

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1. How familiar were you with the civil wars of Sierra Leone prior to reading A Long Way Gone? How has Ishmael’s story changed your perception of this story and of current wars in general? 2. Chapter seven begins with the story of the imam’s death, followed by Ishmael’s recollections of his father and an elder blessing their home when they first moved to Mogbwemo. How do the concepts of faith and hope shift throughout this memoir? What sustains Ishmael emotionally and spiritually? 3. Chapter eight closes with the image of villagers running fearfully from Ishmael and his friends, believing that the seven boys are rebels. How do they overcome these negative assumptions in communities that have begun to associate the boys’ appearance with evil? What lessons could world leaders learn from them about overcoming distrust, and the importance of judging others individually rather than as stereotypes? 4. Discuss the role of American hip-hop culture in creating a “soundtrack” for Ishmael’s life. Why are rappers so appealing to him? 5. The boys’ discovery of the Atlantic Ocean and their encounter with a cheerful fisherman who heals and feeds them is followed by the tragedy of Saidu’s death after a bird falls ominously from the sky. Discuss Ishmael’s relationship with the natural world. In what way is he guided by the constancy of the earth and sky? 6. When Ishmael arrives at the fortified village of Yele in chapter twelve, what do you discover about the way he began his military career? Was his service and that of his equally young friends necessary? What made his conscription different from that of drafted American soldiers serving in previous wars? 7. Ishmael tells us that some of the boys who had been rehabilitated with him later became soldiers again. What factors ensured that he could remain a civilian?
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