Total time—2 hours
(Suggested time—40 minutes. This question counts for one-third of the total essay section score.)
The need for of sympathy is natural in a human being, however, being forced to pay homage to deep sacrifices or traumatizing acts of violence is not. The consistent experiences of being forced to do things, feelings of pain, and being forced into a world of drugs and slavery creates an emotional water slide straight towards war.
Read the following seven sources carefully, including the introductory information for each source. Then, in a well-organized essay that synthesizes at least four of the sources for support, examine the attempts at emotion that Ishmael Beah makes and how it makes you feel sympathy for his personal life.
Make sure your argument is central; use the sources to illustrate and support your reasoning. Avoid merely summarizing the sources. Indicate clearly which sources you are drawing from, whether through direct quotation, paraphrase, or summary.
You may cite the sources as Source A, Source B, etc., or by using the descriptions in parentheses.
Source A (Boyd)
Source B (Gberie)
Source C (Beah)
Source D (Gone)
Source E (Wikimedia)
Source F (Nelson)
Source G (Vision)
Boyd, William. "Sunday Book Review." Babes In Arms
25 Feb. 2007: n. pag. Print.
What is it about African wars that is so disturbing? Why do they unsettle us so? We in the civilized West know all about bestial and mindless cruelty, as the events of 1939-45 graphically prove. And yet as we read about Darfur and
Mogadishu today and recall Rwanda and Sierra Leone not long ago, or Biafra and
Congo further back, we realize that these vicious, bitter African conflicts have left their trace on contemporary history, and on contemporary consciousness, in ways somehow different from the usual squalid reckoning that modern warfare encourages. It is interesting to try to comprehend what act of remembering is going on here.
Who of us in our 20s could accurately summon up our day-by-day lives as preteens? As you read “A Long Way Gone,” the details allow you to distinguish precise recall from autobiographical blur. Beah can remember the logo on the sneakers he is issued by the army. When he is captured by hostile villagers, he is released because he has a few rap cassettes on him (LL Cool J, Naughty by
Nature, among others) and can mime the songs and dance to them. All this has the idiosyncratic ring of precisely remembered truth. But with lines like these, the effect is quite different: “We walked around the village and killed everyone who came out of the houses and huts.” Or: “After every gunfight we would enter the rebel camp, killing those we had wounded.” The horror is duly registered, but its vagueness and generality don’t add up to moments of lived personal history.
Indeed, Beah’s time in the army, and the accounts of the patrols and firefights he was caught up in, represent only a small portion of this book. And who can blame him? The blood-lust of a drug-crazed adolescent on the rampage with an assault rifle would challenge the descriptive powers of James Joyce. Beah confesses to slitting the throat of a trussed prisoner, and writes lines like: “I angrily pointed my gun into the swamp and killed more people. I shot everything that moved.” If these and similar passages are to be given credence, his personal body count must total many dozens. Such knowledge is shocking, but it’s the reader’s imagination that delivers the cold sanguinary shudder, not the author’s boilerplate prose. It is a vision of hell that Beah gives us, one worthy of Hieronymus Bosch, but as though depicted in primary colors by a naïve artist.
Gberie, Lansana. "Writing on Child Soldiers.". N.p., 16 May 2007. Web. 29
The following is a photo of a young Zimbabwan boy holding a…