Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Beah and Cisneros source links. From Mike Lohre

Part of any active reading assignment has to include an analysis of the credibility of a writer.

The internet makes this easier and more complicated.  Easier because it brings us information quickly, and more complicated because you really have to work to make sure you  understand who produces the source and make sure you are getting objective information.

Here are a few links for our authors as we have finished the books:


(the above has text and more than one video: we watched the one labeled memory of 1st killing)


Ismael Beah is a writer and activist.

UNICEF links






Sandra Cisneros has stated:  "The only reason we write—well, the only reason why I write; maybe I shouldn’t generalize—is so that I can find out something about myself."

Sandra Cisneros is also a writer and activist.
Sandra as a teenager.


  1. Watching the video on Ishmael in class that we watched made me see why he went into being a rebel. Ishmael did it to stay alive, in the interview he said something along the line as "if they leave they die and if they didn't join they would die". Ishmael did it to stay alive. Beah also said "everything was his life he didn't do it to write the book or be a journalist". It was his life, his events in his life. He seemed very sad about his first killing saying "you never forget the first killing"

    Then I listened to the A Former Child Soldier Imagines 'Tomorrow' In Sierra Leone, Ishmael said “it was hell”. Many body parts were cut off and gone and that was a major thing that happened in the war. People were cut up and just tossed to the side to die. Another major thing that happened that changed was the culture before the war children could walk the street with a gun and nothing would get said but once the war happened if you saw a child with a gun you would run and hide, you would think they are a part of the life. Ishmael said “you won’t be able to change the culture”.

    The house on mango street YouTube video, Sandra Cisneros said “she was looking for a real place to call home and Esperanza had dreams.” Sandra Cisneros said “she isn’t Esperanza but she is telling the story’s she had heard over the years through Esperanza.” So Esperanza is a character that has many stories from other people build up in one character. Sandra Cisneros has heard stories and want to tell the story.

    Sandra Cisneros writes to tell the stories she has heard and what stories other have told her
    Ishmael writes to tell what has happen in his life and why he did the things he did. He is just telling his story as a child soldier.

  2. I watched the second video of Beah on Comedy central and it was another great video that showed how serene and calm his composure is. The host mentioned his spirit and how radiant it was and although we weren't there we could still see and get a feel for how refined his character is. Even though it was on comedy central, it showed how serious the situation is and it was a very formal interview instead of a lot of joking as they may do with another person on the show, that spoke a lot to me. When asked, Beah touched base on hope and explained what it was like to be in the situation he was in, which helped me understand it even more. "The situation is so hopeless that you find a shred of hope and it becomes normalized...You have to find a way to accept this reality or you will die." I was thinking of how the people in Sierra Leone were still living each day with turmoil all around and I was wondering how they were doing it and they had to do it or they would die. Although it is a lot for us to imagine, that life would just become normal and we wouldn't think anything of it after a while.

    Sandra Cisneros was also very interesting to hear from. At the beginning of her book I thought it was hard to get into but by the end I really started to appreciate her writing and her as a person. In her interview she also had such equanimity and was so calm, very humble as well. I was interested to hear that Mango street isn't real and that the stories are just fibers of things that have happened, strung in with a lot of fiction as well. It really showed why people love the book so much because we are all in the place that she was in, longing for something more and faced by circumstances that may be limiting to the dream in our hearts. Something that she mentioned that stuck with me, which I believe to be true on many levels is "Writer's block isn't that you don't have anything to say it is that you are afraid to say what you have to say." That is something that will stick with me because it is true, even for a simple paper, we may be faced with this block out of fear of being criticized for what we have to say when creation and writing needs to flow freely, we all have something to say.

    Both of them have opened the door for others to follow, to share out what other may be afraid to say. As well to help others in their situations with the testimony that they made it out and have become the person that they have longed to be.

  3. The video I watched was called "Forced To Fight At 9 Years Old". His name was John in the video but that was not his real name. They only used that name to protect his identity. He said when the militia came and attacked Beah's village, everything changed. He was taken away and did not know how to get back home. At the age of 9 he had became a soldier. He was assigned what to do and there were never any questions asked. No questions, comments or concerns were allowed. When he got old enough to carry a gun, commanders taught him how to use it. He was in a group of child soldiers. He stated "We used to live a life of horror, sometimes we were attacked and ran away and we would come back and just continue to fight and fight." He also said "Sometimes we would attack that is how my life used to be." Every time he tried to sneak away, he got caught and was bitten. In my opinion, the way that the child soldiers are treated is not right. They all end up loosing their humanity. Also, another thing I disagree with is how the boys are given drugs and alcohol just so that they will fight. This boy has definitely learned the life of a soldier, but now he hopes to regain the life of a child.

    Also, I read the interview on Sandra Cisnero which was very interesting. It has been 25 years since "The House on Mango Street" was published. Sandra thinks her work still has a distinctive voice and that the voice is a person speaking Spanish in English. She writes with the syntax and sensibility of Spanish even when there isn't a syllable of Spanish present. It shocked me that she wasn't aware of that when she wrote her first novel and also, I found it very interesting that she says she is still foolish and that she knows it is a good thing and is not ashamed of it as she thought when she was younger. She states "The difference now is that I know myself. I think my writing is wiser, and, I hope, more complex." Sandra believes the farther away we are from a story the clearer we can see it. I disagree. She also says she is influenced by what is spoken and told to her which is how I feel like I am influenced also. Last but not least, she tells how the book is being taught. She states 'It is serving a need, it is doing its healing, it is transmitting light, but I was just the conduit for that light, not the source". I found it very caring that Sandra says she is grateful that the timing was just right for her labor to be recognized, and that the readers were ready to hear her story. She says at the end of her interview that she is definitely very fortunate and blessed.

  4. I watched the video “Helping to heal child soldiers” I think this video really showed Beah as a role model for the children of Africa that have been exposed to war. He goes back to Africa to tell his story to the child soldiers, he is a positive influence in their lives. He wants to help. I also read his interview with NPR, and it was about his new book, but then I read the comments just to see what people were saying about him. In the comments there was one that read “wow what an inspiring story about my motherland sierra leone.” This one caught my eye because it shows Beah’s influence around the world. He is not only helping the child soldiers to come back to society and be an example for them, but he is also connecting to others from his country.
    I watched Cisneros’ interview on YouTube, and read her interview. I really did not know the book was about Feminism when I read it. I thought it was just a story that was about her life. Now that I know it is about Feminism and the different women around the country I can see why she wrote it and the stories that she used and wrote. In the video she explained how the character Esperanza became this made up character that took on the stories that she have been told through her life. I think that this book was a way that you got to experience a collection of memories from the reality world but told by the fictional character Esperanza. I also looked at the comments on this YouTube video and I think that the kids who wrote those comments did not get the true meaning from the book. I did not get the true meaning of the book until she told me exactly why she wrote it.

  5. The first video I watched about Ishmael Beah was called "The Killing Fields of Sierra Leone". This video is about some of the things that happened that Beah remember very well and why he became I child soldier. Beah became a child soldier because there was nothing else that he could do he was only 12 years old on his own. Many of the children joined the army or RUF because they no longer had there family around and there was nothing they could do to stop the inevitable. Another thing that Beah talks about is the story with the mother carrying her dead baby on her back but she doesn't know it is dead. Beah wondered if such a bad thing can happen to a baby what was going to happen to him. Everyone was scared of the children if the saw some kids come into a town they would run and him because they thought they were apart of RUF. Since adults wouldn't acknowledge them they would have to pass by towns and not stay. Beah said "it was if nature itself was scared..." because the birds wouldn't even sing anymore. All of this made children that were scared and ran from the gun shots when there town was attacked into cold blooded killers that thought killing was "as easy as drinking water".

    The second video that I watched was also about Ishmael Beah. This video is called "Helping to Heal Child Soldiers" and it is about how Beah is now helping children who are going through the same problems that he did. Though it first started out by telling us how Beah is doing now and how he himself got out of Sierra Leone. Beah is now living in New York and was adopted by Laura Sims at the age of 17. While in New York he graduated from united nations school and he also graduated from college. Before he graduated college he had wrote the book "A Long Way Gone" but he never thought he would publish it. Beah never thought that he would leave Sierra Leone but once his country broke out into war again he knew he needed to get out. For a while Laura had been sending him money so he had some saved up. He then used that saved up money to escape to the united states. Beah is now an official UNICEF ambassador and he goes to help children get out of war and also to tell them "don't worry about a thing because every little things gonna be alright". He went to a country in Africa and help release 10 child soldiers. He then told them that he understood there confusion and he also told them that recovery is not going to be easy and it is going to talk a while but it is worth it.

  6. The first video I whatched was an interview with Ishmael Beah with CNN .The interview was titled "shooting became just like Drinking a Glass of Water".In this interview Beah speaks about how he goes over to Sierra Leone and trys to mentor other child soilders in recovery and helps them realize that they can move on in there lives and it is possible to become a normal civilian even after the horrors they have witnessed.Beah states "everyone can walk their own path" when asked by the host if he ever believes he is giving the children false hope in their recoverys, Beah says that he just wants to show the children that there ishope and it is possible to get better.This interview was really heart warming to me in a weird way, the thought of child soilders still upset me but the fact that Beah wants to pour his heart and soul into trying to fix this issues makes me really appreciate Beah even more as a person.

    The second clip I watched was an interview with the author of the "The House On Mango Street". The interview touched on a lot of points that helped me better understand the book. Cisneros mentions about how her book speaks to young people so well because it represents loneliness and isolation and how as teenagers we still don't know what we want to do with our lives and we can feel extremely alone. Cisneros also mentions how her book is a not a straight forward stories of her life or anyone's life really, but how her story is a composite of everyone's story's and a composite of her heart, hearing her say this really made me appreciate her book more and how all of these little stories that she tells have meaning and are from her life experiences or what she has seen or heard turned into a form of fiction.

  7. The first video I watched was the interview with Ishmael Beah with CNN. The video's title was Schooting Became Just A Glass Of Water. In the interview Beah starts by talking about his love for Bob Marley and it shows how music helped Beah through his journey. A I watched the video I can still see that inosence was and how the war mindwashed the brains of the youth. as Beah says "We went from children who were afraid of gunshots to now children who were gunshots." This represents how the inosence of Beah and his friends were stripped and replaced with evil. Beah tells us also about how he did not expect to be saved but by the faith of humanity he was resiesitated.

    The second video I watched was the interview with Sandra Cisneros the author of the book The House On Mango Street. Cisneros tells us that the book was not a full story of her life but instead a collection of all of he stories that she experienced while living in her different houses. The book talks about living on mango street which is actually based of her life on Campbell street. As Cisneros says "in my own life I did not know when I was writing Esperanza's story that I would also be writiting some of my own.. some of the fibers are of my life." This represents to me that Esperanza is not actually a real person but a collection of family stories that Cisneros had a connection with.

  8. I watched the first video, and I honestly connected very easily. I personally believe that music is a huge importance on life, and that is the main way people will express themselves. I express myself through my music so it just would make sense that Ishmael would do the same. That was the case in video one Shooting became Just a Glass of Water. In this video it shows how influential music was towards Ishmael, most importantly Bob Marley. The war destroyed Beah and stripped him of most of his characteristics. Luckily one characteristics Ishmael never forget was his passion for Bob Marley. The video explained his love for Marley, how he worshipped every lyrics. Also he talked about the brutality he witness in war, "I saw a man carrying his son that had been shot dead, but he was trying to run with him." Ishmael captured a emotionally destrubing imagine and had no choice but to carry that with him for the rest if his life. Yeah then realized he could help others and decided that he wanted to help other child soldiers escape. He went down and mentored several child soldiers , just so they wouldn't have to be like him.

    The next video I watched was the interview with Cisneros. She pretty much said her book "A House on Mango Street" was just a book of stories from the houses she lived in. She has such a different style of writing, sorta like "speaking Spanish in English". This interview helped me better understand a lot about what was going in in the book, a long with how Cisneros writes and thinks. I believe she has a gift with connecting to a teenage audience

  9. In the video that we watched in class, made me understand a little on why he did what he did. He had too,he was forced too. In the video he says "if they leave they die and if they didn't join they would die" he only did the things he did because he needed to survive.

    The video i watched with Cisneros was the one on Youtube. In the video she says "when i moved into the house on mango street, it wasn't the house on mango street. It wasn't the house on mango street until i left mango street." this made me think that it took time for her to release that all of this was going on, not that boom it all happened, she had to see and live it for a while. she didn't realize what it was until she left mango street.

  10. The first video that i watch was the The Daily Sow Interview on Comedy Central that Jon Stewart had with Ishmael Beah throughout the video Stewart hit on main point that caught me attention, by asking Beah if it was harder for him to become a killer or if it was harder for him to become a human being again and Beah said that it was easy to turn someone into a killer but it was harder for him to become a human being again because e had to learn how to trust people and even had to learn how to sleep.

    The second video that i watched was The House On Mango Street-The Story. What i liked about this video is that Cisnero tells about how the house that she was really writing about wasn't even located on mango street it was located on Campbell street and that there is no Mango Street in Chicago but there is a Mango ave. But what stood out the most is when she said that when people come up and ask if she is Esperanza and she says "I'm not Esperanza, i'm the sum of all the stories that have passed through me that i have heard and witnessed.

  11. The first video I watched was the UNICEF video titled "A humane thing: A mother helps mothers fleeing for their lives". As refugee families arrive on the shores of Lesvos, Greece, Darcia Christiana Fleur offers support and critical information to help them recover from their journey. The thing that impacted me the most was the children that go on this journey,some only days old they are crammed into small boats going across the Mediterranean Sea to escape war in the Middle East. Fleur helps mothers with the small children who arrive with nothing but the cloths on there backs with blankets and food.

    The Second video I watched was the CNN interview with Ishmael Beah. The point that he made that had the most impact on me was the part when he said " a boy cried for his mother and was then shot". There was no way out for Beah if would run he would die and if he disobeyed something he would die so he no choice but to succumb to the R.U.F. But when he reluctantly received help from UNICEF he now helps other children who were in the same situation as him come back to life.

  12. Both of the video that I watched were about Beah. For me I thought it was really interesting, how they were some things that were not in the book that he will talk about now. But he didn't not put them in the book. There was many things that he said in the interviews that really got you to see how bad it really was that he didn't put in the book.


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