Thursday, October 30, 2014

Reviews to Choose and Read. From Mike Lohre


Please read the following links to reviews to get an idea of how different writers approach the genre.

As you read, think about why we use reviews and the different purposes these reviews take on.

Write a response to one of the reviews in the Comments section of this post.


  • What is the conclusion of the review? Do you agree or disagree?  
  • Is this review fair or biased?  How can you tell? 
  • What counts as evidence here?  Research? Comparison/Contrast? Personal experience and taste?  Storytelling? Historical testing? 
  • What values are implied or stated in this review? 


or any of these. . .

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Exploration 5 by Rishat Ahmed

 1. The most effective character in the book to Ishmael was definitely Esther. At this point of the book, Ishmael lost all love. He already had lost the love and acceptance of his family, and now at UNICEF, he is no longer feeling the acceptance from the lieutenant. Esther helps Ishmael to retrieve his hope for love.

2. I feel Ishmael is going through a lot in rehabilitation. His brainwash during his time as a soldier is really affecting him later on. In the rehabilitation center, he still acted like a soldier even though he wasn't anymore. He treated everyone like his enemies. He kept the mentality of "kill or be killed". It is definitely possible for him to become "normal" again. It will just take some time. The rehabilitation center proved he's getting better. I would personally not let him move into my neighborhood until he is fully recovered. It will take some more time.

3. An important convention of narrative was shown in the passage where Ishmael shares the story of his bullet wound to the nurse. The sense details he wrote about were astonishing! It shows that the pain he had from those wounds lasted so long, he's able to write about it in so much detail as if he's experiencing the pain while he's writing the book.

4. An important paragraph in these chapters is the paragraph Esther gives Ishmael the rap cassettes and a walkman. This paragraph shows to be a turning point for Ishmael's cognition. It gives hope to Ishmael that love is still existent. If there was any proof why Ishmael was becoming more closer to his previous child-like self rather than the soldier-like boy, this event is it.

Exploration 5 by Nathan N.

1. Throughout chapters 14 through 18 I was really able to admire Ester. Ester gave hope to Ishmael and allowed him to move away from the war and back into society. Anyone who has that much courage and strength to help a known killer be rehabillitated back into society, I can really respect. One moment in the book where I loved Ester was when she gave Ishmael the walkmen and rap cassette. That really shows she cares for him and that she wanted to help him. I think thats very special in a person.
2. Ishmael's rehabilitaion is good for him and any other kid that goes through this program. It does work as we can see through this book that Ishmael has written. He went from a innocent kid, to a killer soilder, to back to a normal human again with this program and help from Ester the nurse. I would be fine with Ishmael moving into my neighborhood because I believe that he has changed for the better and would have no problem encourageing his to be his better self.

3. As I was reading I thought Ishmael did a great job using convention of narrative on pages 140 and 141 as he describes the withdrawl symptoms that he is going through. The senses that he desribes about feeling sick are very detailed and are written very well. They help the reader understand the pain of the withdraws that these kids are going through.

4. My favorite part in these chapeters was in chapter 17 on page 154 where Ester gives Ishmael the tape player and the Run D.M.C.. Because he is so happy and it really takes him back to his old childhood with the rap music that has saved his life so many times in the past.

Exploration 5: Madison

1.     1. Saidu’s story really touched me after reading about what he had to go through and why he ended up on his own. “Saidu had climbed to the attic to bring down the remaining rice for their journey, when the rebels stormed in. Saidu sat in the attic, holding his breath and listening to the wailing of his sisters as the rebels raped them. His father shouted at them to stop, and one of the rebels hit him with the butt of his gun. Saidu’s mother cried and apologized to her daughters for having brought them into this world to be victims of such madness. After the rebels had raped the sisters over and over, they bundled the family’s property and made the father and mother carry it. They took the three girls with them” (Beah, 79-80). I couldn’t imagine having to sit through my families pain—knowing theirs nothing I could do to help…and that being the last thing you remember and experience with your family.

2.     2. I think Ishmael’s rehabilitation is going slowly but surely. Yes I do believe it’s possible! After Ishmael is done with his rehab I would be okay with him living in my neighborhood because I personally believe that Ishmael, once fully though rehab, will realize that the two years he was fighting in the war it wasn’t really him. Those two years represented survival and with that way of survival he was brainwashed and on drugs almost the whole time. Now that Ishmael is back to reality I think he understands that life doesn’t have to be like that anymore and now he’s safe and free again. Those two years don’t define Ishmael now.

3.     3. A specific convention of Dialogue that I think is important is on page 70. Saidu says, “Every time people come at us with the intention of killing us, I close my eyes and wait for death. Even though I am still alive, I feel like each time I accept death, part of me dies. Very soon I will completely die and all that will be left is my empty body walking with you. It will be quieter than I am.” I think Beah used this convention well because it really is an important quote to remember for just a little later on in the chapter. It’s a very ironic quote that can potentially help explain the later, sudden death of Saidu.

4.     4. My favorite passage is on page 80. “Under these stars and sky I used to hear stories, but now it seemed as if it was the sky that was telling us a story as its stars fell, violently colliding with each other. The moon hid behind clouds to avoid seeing what was happening.” I enjoy this small passage because it says so much. It foreshadows what’s to come—the violent war, chaos, stars fell, violently colliding with each other and the moon hiding I thought was a really neat thing to add because of the previous story about what the moon resembled. Nothing bad would happen if the moon was out and the fact that the moon didn’t want to shine goes to show nothing good was about to happen. I found this passage as a clever one—almost like a riddle in a way.

Sharing our Takeaways from Beah. By Mike Lohre

 Students, in the Comments section, let's make a final reflection and some "takeaways" from A Long Way Gone.

1) First, share your two very favorite passages from the entire book, and explain why you choose these.

2) Next, pick one of the big picture questions below and respond to it as best you can.


  • What rights do we have as human beings?
  • What does it mean to have universal rights?
  • What does the notion that humans have natural rights come from?
  • What are the political, social and economic costs of defending the rights of all people?
  • Do we have a social responsibility to help defend the basic rights of others?  Why or why not?
  • How do the arts affect change and give meaning to social responsibility?
  • How does the lens of a camera or the ink of a pen serve as a conduit for change, giving voice to those who have been affected by poverty, conflict and violence?  Even if sad or tragic, why are these stories and pictures important to us as humans?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Exploration 5 Asiya

1:Alhaji was one of the characters mean to me, because he was brave guy. He was one of six boys, Always with Ishmael.   He was fighting his own people to defend lie his family. Alhaji was the boy who was at river fetch water when the rebels attacked him. He returned home to find his family, but he found empty house and he shouted his parents name and his siblings. “I wish I could be that me. He is just so happy and content with his life.”  Alhaji was point out how this man is happy his life, how they were struggle and whole country was destroyed. Page (64)
2: Ishmael's rehabilitation was good experience for me. he went through a lot of difficult things, but he made good decision. If you live a world like that way is the only you can survival. I don’t mind if he moves into my neighborhood because i can see he is not bother people without reason. he was defend himself and his family.
3: Muse is one of the characters. who‘s work with Ishmael. He did not mention many things in this book, but one of his conversations was strong detail he used. On the page 81, he said, “It is a holiday. He laughed. You can call it any day want, he continued. But it is not just a day, it is a strange one. I don’t feel too good about it.” Muse said. “Maybe shouldn’t eat this bird.” I like this passage it described how the Muse was Hungry and he did not want eat the bird.

4 on the page 18, he says “the breeze brings the faint cries of those whose last breaths are leaving their mangled bodies. I walk past them. Their arms and legs are missing their intestines spill out through the bullet holes in their stomachs; brain matter comes out of their noses and ear. The flies are so excited and intoxicated that they fall on the pools of blood and die.” It showed to me how brave he is because he seeing all this painful and He still live there fights for himself.  

Exploration Five From Bryson

1. A character that really made a huge impact on me was Esther, she shows that she has such a huge heart and maybe cares about the future of these boys (especially Ismael) more than anyone else who is trying to help the kids. Even through all of the attitude and disrespect she gets from the boys she continues to stay patient believe in the children, and help them in anyway she can. It really touches me in the way she cares for Ismael, she seems to have a very special relationship with him and really feels for the suffering for him in a way she doesn't with the others. On page 159-160 this is one of my favorite passages about Esther "When I finished telling the story, she had tears in her eyes and she couldn't decide whether to rub my head or hug me. In the end she did neither, but said, "None of what happened is your fault. You were just a little boy, and anytime you want to tell me anything, I am here to listen." She stared at me, trying to catch my eye so she could assure me of what she just said."

2. I think that Ismael's rehabilitation is going well, the problems that he has experienced are all problems they would have expected. I think that this is a very possible thing to do, it will take time and commitment on both ends (Ismael and staff). There will be unexpected challenges, but both sides with need to compromise and commit to the rehabilitation. I would not want Ismael moving into my neighborhood, not because I don't think he is a good kid or because I don't like him, but merely for the purpose of safety and the comfortability to be in my neighborhood without danger of violence, harassment, assault, etc.

3. The convention (not really a convention more of a strategy) I actually like the most and one that I think is one that people don't pick up on is the fact that he does not title his chapters. I think it gives the audience an opportunity to take their own message and feelings from the chapter and come up with a title that will stand out to them. It leaves room for the audience to interpret the chapter in their own way and feel the different emotions that he felt when writing the book.

4. My favorite passage is at the end of page 166:
"When I was a child, my grandmother told me that the sky speaks to those who look and listen to it. She said, "In the sky there are always answers and explanations for everything: every pain, every suffering, joy, and confusion." That night I wanted the sky to talk to me." There is nothing too special about this quote really, but I am a sucker for inspirational, motivational quotes. I found this quote very inspiring and a peace with it something that would stick out in my head through chaos if I had been going through what Ismael had been at the time. The really last part marks the first real turning point that Ismael is hopeful and searching for answers and a solution to his problems, he wants to get better.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Exploration 5 from Amanda Bracey

1. The character who has meant the most to me was Alhaji in these later chapters of 14-18. He has been with Ishmael since he stumbled across him and the other when Ishmael got separated from his brother. While Alhaji was fighting and killing along side Ishmael. I find that with him, Ismael has not only got a comrade at arms that is willing to lay down his life for him but Alhaji is also a friend who wants to see Ishmael happy.
It was when Ishmael was watching  table tennis match and Nurse Esther had given him a cold Coca- Cola. Ishmael left the game hall with Alhaji and sat on a rock and shared the coca-cola with him. one page 152. Alhaji speaks his mind about the nurse by saying "She likes you,"  Ishmael knew right away that Alhaji was teasing him when he wrote Alhaji saying "You mean you are afraid of women," Alhaji replied, nodding. but from there while it was small in comparison but in his own way he was not only making fun of him but also managed to re direct Ismael's thoughts to something positive instead of the negative.

2. I think that Ishmael rehabilitation is a change for the better for him in the long run. No offense to Ishmael as he was following orders as his role as a soldier and he was the ideal solder because of his age and size. However, Green Snake was scary, cold and insane. I prefer his grandmother's Carseloi who was fun, loving, trickster who liked to play tricks on his older brother.
I do believe that rehabilitation is possible and can work for anyone who is willing to accept it and able to take the time to look at themselves and learn from their mistakes, relish in their accomplishments and make themselves to move forward into their next adventure.
If Ismael decided to come to Columbus and move into my neighborhood, I would be okay with Ishmael moving in. My reason is the fact that I know I would be one of those too nice people who would give him the benefit of the doubt until I witness him doing something bad in current time instead of judging him by what he did in his past. I feel that his past is something that is apart of of and will always be there, Yet, the past does not define who you are as a person in the present and the future as both are ever changing.

3. I believe what Ismael does well is making the setting become vivid on paper. there have been many time that he will be describing a place or a village and while I have never left the United States, I feel like I am there in that moment seeing and feeling everything.
To be more specific there was a part at the bottom of page 176, Ismael was walking up with his uncle to meet his family for the first time when Ismael wrote "Immediately after a bend and a rise on the gravel road we came upon my uncle's house. It overlooked the city, and from the verandah one could see the ships in the bay. It was a beautiful view of the city, this place that was to become my home. The house had no electricity or running water, and the kitchen that stood apart from the house was made entirely of zinc. Under a mango tree a few meters from the yard was the latrine and the kule- open- air shower. It reminded me of Mattru Jong." so in that instant you get a two for one deal as you get a better feel for his home now and the one from his past.

4. My favorite passage from the book actually at the end of chapter 17. after Ishmael and Esther have dinner at her place, they take a walk in the city. Ishmael wrote "We went to the wharf at the end of Rawdon Street. The Moon was out that night and we sat at the jetty and watched it. I told Esther about the shapes I used to see in the moon when I was much younger. She was fascinated. We looked at the moon and described the shapes we saw to each other. I saw the woman cradling the baby in her arms, just as I used to. On our way back to her house, I didn't look at the city lights any longer. I looked into the sky and felt as if the moon was following us."
It impacted me because it reminded of all the times as a kid, that I would be lying in the grass and looking up at the sky either in the day time or night time and trying to figure out what the shapes of the clouds meant or what the moon was thinking that night. Yet, nowadays, as an adult it seems silly to even think about doing that in my back yard let alone a public area. I feel like the point of all is while you grow up, your good childhood memories will always bring a smile to your face and that is something that cannot ever be lost even if you don't act on them.

Exploration 5: Caitlin Mashhadian

Caitlin Mashhadian
English 1110.3 @10:30
Exploration 5

1. I know that we have only recently discovered Esther in the past few chapters of the book, but I feel compelled to use her as the character that sticks out to me. The reason why she stuck out to me is because she has been so understanding and patient and sweet. It definitely struck my heart strings because these boys haven't been cared for emotionally for a very long time and Esther is so good at providing that to Ismael. A few specific examples of her persistence is taken place on page 154. By this point she's given Ismael the walk man as a gift. She sets up trust between them by having him  come by once a week for a check up and he can always come by the clinic to listen to his music. She takes him and Alhaji to the city for a trip, and is always showing affection towards both boys. She will never give up even if Ismael doesn't show affection towards her. She knows how to help him and understands it will take time. I like Esther because she is the most positive influence on Ismael thus far into the book.Examples can be found on page 161-162-163

2.I feel great about Ismael's rehabilitation. He's made a tremendous amount of progress since he's been there. I believe that with the right influences and help that it is very likely that child soldiers can be rehabilitated. I would be fine if Ismael lived in my neighborhood, he is a human being who is working through his traumatic experiences and is adapted well to the help he's getting from Leslie, Esther, and everyone in the rehabilitation center.

3. On page 157 The second paragraph has awesome sensory detail pertaining to touch. "I do not know what happened, but when I woke up the next day I felt as if I had had nails hammered into the bones of my foot and my  veins were being chiseled." I believe his use of figurative language really emphasizes the way you should feel while reading this paragraph. You are able to imagine how the pain felt by this passage.

4.  My favorite passage can be found on page  177 at the last paragraph when Allie is speaking with Ismeal about their new living arrangement. "I am happy that you will be staying with us, we can share my room." Allie said as we waited for the game to begin. He was older than I was and had finished secondary school. He was jovial and very disciplined. It showed in his manners. He spoke well and to the point. I really enjoyed this passage because I think Ismael needs a good male influence in his life, especially at this point in time in his rehabilitation stage. I think Allie is a great influence and will help Ismael a lot.                        

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Exploration 5- Fathia Mohamed.

1. besides Ishmae, Alhaji has meant the most to me so far. He has been there throughout the entire story. I think that in a way he and Ishmael have become brothers. He went through something awful just like Ishmael, and has been on the same ride.

2. I don’t think the rehabilitation is possible. I think it works for some people because they want it, but I don’t think it does much. These boys have had too much happen too fast for them. I personally wouldn’t want him to live in my neighborhood because anything can trigger a memory that might make him violent.  It’s a scary idea to know that your neighbor could be a ticking time bomb.

3. I think that the most interesting convention that he uses is his sensory details. On page 157, he says “I felt as if I had had nails hammered into the bones of my foot and my veins were being chiseled. I felt so much pain that I was unable to cry out loud; tears just fell from my eyes”.  I like this passage because he describes the amount of pains he’s feeling in a way that you can feel it. Even if you have never been in that much pain.

4.   On page 160, he says “That night, as I sat on the verandah listening to some of the boys discusses the volleyball game I had missed, I tried to think about my childhood days, but it was impossible, as I began getting flashbacks of the first time I slit a man’s throat. The scene kept surfacing in my memory like lightning on a dark rainy night, and each time it happened, I heard a sharp cry in my head that made my spine hurt”. This really impacted me because it shows that even though he’s done this before and many times over, thinking about the first time still makes him feel sick.

Exploration #5 (Collin Blevins)

1) The character that has meant the most to me thus far in the book (besides Ishmael) is Nurse Esther from the Rehabilitation center that he is sent to. She has meant the most to me this far because it's crazy to me all the things she is doing for these kids coming out of the war, even when they are so opposed to the help. The boys do everything they can to create a barrier between them and her, but she still shows persistence in helping them. I just think it's truly impressive that she still continues to help these kids. She says, "I am your nurse and that's all. If you want to be friends with me, you will have to ask me and I will have to trust you first." (pp. 153). I like this quote because it shows her willingness to befriend Ishmael. It also shows that she is indeed an intelligent person because she needs Ishmael's trust before anything can happen. (She knows that Ishmael is dangerous)

2) When it comes to Ishmael and rehabilitation I feel like it will be a long process. Ishmael-- at this point in the book-- has been fighting for the last two years of his life. In my mind, the act of rehabilitating him will be a long process. It doesn't help that he was abruptly sent from the front lines straight to a Rehabilitation center though. I honestly feel like he should've finished out the war before he was sent for rehabilitation. But I definitely think that rehabilitation is possible for Ishmael. If I was a normal civilian during the war, and he was sent to my neighborhood, I would fear for my safety. I definitely wouldn't like it if someone like him were to move into my place of sanctuary (near home/ neighborhood). I feel this way because I wouldn't want him/her to hurt my family or me during the process of rehabilitation. The fact that they just came out of the war is scary enough.

3) "It was getting dark outside. As the truck slowly rocked along the busy street, streetlights flickered on. Even the shops and kiosks were lit. I was amazed at how many lights there were without the sound of a generator. I was marveling at the glittering cityscape when the truck turned off the street and began galloping so heavily that we were all shaking as if we'd been placed on a vibrating machine."(pp. 131). I liked this quote because I thought it showed a great deal of scene details within it. It also shows the fascination that Ishmael exudes for the city. 

4) "Whenever I turned on the tap water, all I could see was blood gushing out. I would stare at it until it looked like water before drinking or taking a shower. Boys sometimes ran out of the hall screaming, "The rebels are coming." Other times, the younger boys sat by rocks weeping and and telling us that the rocks were their dead families. Then there were those instances when we would ambush the staff members, tie them up, and interrogate them about the whereabouts of their squad, where they got their supplies of arms and ammunition, drugs, and food."(pp. 145). This quote impacted me the most because I couldn't help but feel so sad for these kids. I realized at this point in the book that the act of being rehabilitated was a war all on its own. This is why this quote impacted me the most.

Exploration 5: Liz Williams

Ethyl is a fairly new character we have recently come across, however her humane sense of kindness and loving support makes her my favorite thus far in the book. Her demeanor is one of sympathy and generosity, something that inevitably shows Ishmael she is a person he can trust, and vice versa. She isn’t just a nurse checking up routinely on her patients, quite the contrary. She takes an immediate interest in Ishmael because she can sense he has deep oppressing demons that he shouldn’t have to face alone. We see her generosity and caring nature when she gives Ishmael a gift, a Walkman and rap cassettes on page 154. She knew that by only enforcing her authority over him that it would get them nowhere, and as Ishmael listened to the music it brought back good memories that allowed him to open up to her. She embraced his tantrums because she knew the horrifying things that had happened to him and that he had done himself were not his fault. She allowed him to tell every story he wished to tell, as she would just sit quietly and listen as shown on page 160.

I think that Ishmael’s rehabilitation is definitely a work in progress. I think for what he has been through that he is recovering at a very rapid pace. I think that although it is a gradual process that he is realizing that the world and the place he is in now is a good thing that people are trying to help and take care of him. This world is completely different from the one he is used to with his “military family”, however he is noticing that that is not the kind of family he neither needs nor wants. These people in his rehabilitation center are genuinely concerned for this health and safety, and it’s only a matter of time before he can fully trust them and people around him in the future.

                One part of the narrative in which I thought Beah used a good convention was on page 166 in the last paragraph. I liked it because it correlates the past and the present very well. Ishmael and Esther are on a walk in the city and he is describing his past and the shapes he used to see in the moon. They both stared at the moon and connected with each other in a deep and understanding way. He then remembers his grandmother and the words she used to describe the moon to him when he was a young boy. She would say, “In the sky there are always answers and explanations for everything: every pain, every suffering, joy, and confusion.” I think this also serves as a good foreshadowing for his life and his troubles during the war, and to now with Esther looking up at the moon and remembering these words of his grandmother.

                One passage that really stood out to me was on page 149 with the middle passage. It explains how he has to relearn how to sleep because of his night tremors. “I would dream that a faceless gunman had tied me up and begun to slit my throat with the zigzag edge of his bayonet. I would feel the pain that the knife inflicted as the man sawed my neck.” This passage is a vital part in realizing just how bad the danger Ishmael was put in. It is also a heart wrenching part to read because Ishmael is just a boy and the fact that he has already gone through these traumatic affairs is extremely devastating and honestly hard to wrap my mind around.

Exploration 5 - Chazz

1. A character that has stood out to me so far in the book is Esther. She has really been a good person to Ishmael and is trying to get him to trust her and know that he has someone there that cares for him. In the book she first made in an impact on Ishmael after he explained his dream about his family and she tells him that “None of these things are your fault”. He begins to believe her at that moment, and it had finally started to sink in because of Esther’s "genuine voice". Ishmael begins to become very fond of Esther but refuses to show it, which shows that she is getting to him. Ishmael finally began to trust Esther after all of the things that he has been through which is why I grew to like her as a character.

2. I feel that Ishmael’s rehabilitation was necessary for him to try to get better mentally and try to let go of some of the tough obstacles that he faced prior to going to the rehabilitation center. He is learning how to trust people again and trying to get a better life. It seemed to be working but at a very slow rate. I wouldn't mind him moving into my neighborhood. I feel that he would have to be in a better state of mind before he comes back into the real world though. That way he would be okay having interaction with everyday people that he comes into contact with.

3. “ I lit the lamp, and as soon as the room was bright, I saw men standing all around. They had circled me in the dark. I could see their bodies—except for their faces, which was darker, as if they were headless walking beings. Some were barefoot and others wore army boots. All had guns and knives. They began to shoot stab, stab, and slice each other's throats. But they would rise and get killed again.” --- I chose this passage because it takes us through one of the many nightmares that Ishmael has during this book, and gives us a visual of how this dream really was. Ishmael made his dream come to life through writing, and made us as readers see what he saw. It shows us how scary and frightening imagining something like this happening to us would be.

4. “I feel as if there is nothing left for me to be alive for, I have no family, it is just me. No one will be able to tell stories about my childhood.” --- This passage stuck out the most to me because it was a moment that showed how vulnerable Ishmael was feeling, and how alone he really felt. He missed his family, and I thought that this was one of the saddest things that I had read. It made me feel sorry for him, sorry that his life and everything in it was taken away from him.