Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Journal 7: Reading Response

During the book the character that meant to most to me was probably Alhaji. He was in the book a good majority of the time ever since chapter 8 up until Beah left for America. Alhaji was Temne, when Alhaji cam into Beah life it wasn't exactly the first time. Beah knew Alhaji from the secondary school he use to go to. Alhaji has been that good friend that Ishmael had managed to stay with throughout his experience in the war. They were both in the same squad together, so naturally they became close. Out of all the boys Ishmael met he stayed closest to Alhaji. An example of the brotherhood the developed is "By the fire, I realized that I had bruises on my arms, back, and foot. Alhaji helped me attend to them with some bandages and medical supplies that the rebels had left behind.... I laughed as Alhaji pointed out the number of bruises on my body." (Beah, 151). They both took care of each other during battle, as Beah said in the book, the squad became their family. Ishmael and Alhaji were also able to laugh together outside of the war and able to be boys. "I wanted to watch the volleyball game, but Alhaji began to pull me and didn't let go until we were at the doorway of the hospital. He then shoved me inside and ran away giggling." (Beah, 154). I think since they were the same age and came from the same place it was easier to relate to each other. Even though Beah went through hard times he was not alone he also had someone his age to relate to that came from his experience.A great example is in chapter 19 "At the end of the hug, Alhaji shook hands with me. We squeezed each others hand and stared into each others eyes, remembering all that we had been through. I tapped him on the shoulder and he smiled, he understood that I was saying we were going to be fine. I never saw him again, since he continually moved from one foster home to another. At the end of our handshake, Alhaji stepped back, saluted me, and whispered, "Goodbye, squad leader". I tapped him on the shoulder again; I couldn't salute him in return" (Beah, 180). This moment I believe really showed how close they had become over time and how strong their bond was. I understand how hard it is to say goodbye to a great friend and I do believe Alhaji played a huge role in Ishmael's life.
I believe that Ismael's rehabilitation went great. Most people would probably think he wouldn't be able to recover mentally because of everything he had gone through. All of these boys were resisting the treatment and kindness they were given. Beah is extremely lucky he was pulled out when he was because I feel the more he lived in that military life it would have been harder. I think it is possible to recover from something like this. I believe that if someone is given time and have someone they can talk to they will be able to work through this. As they said in the book 'it's not your fault' a lot of these boys needed people to constantly say this because if they don't they will continue to believe it is. I think I would like him to move into my neighborhood because he is not dangerous. Ismael is a human being and he will carry these horrible scars with him his whole life but he is not that person anymore. I think Ishmael would have lots of wisdom and talking to him would make you think about your life and how you live. 
While reading this book things that helped me was highlighting feelings and actions. The way he felt about a situation or what he saw I highlighted. "I held my ears to stop hearing them, but I began to feel their pain. Each time a person was stabbed, I felt it worse; I saw the blood dripping from the same part of my body as that of the victim. I began to cry as the blood filled the room." (Beah, 164). Highlighting things like this helped me understand what was going on in a chapter.
The passage that I really like is probably a well known passage from the book, but it still always stuns me and I love the writing in it. "The idea of death didn't cross my mind at all and killing had become as easy as drinking water. My mind had not only snapped during the first killing, it had also stopped making remorseful records, or so it seemed." (Beah, 122). The thought of someone having a mindset like this shocks me and it's really sad. Beah described how easy it was in an excellent way because nothing could get any easier than drinking water. This gives me chills every time I read it.


  1. I really like how you said you liked Alhaji, he is the best friend and Beah probbably is his favoriate character too. You can really see how he is really likes to have a fimiliar face durning this part of his life.

  2. Hi Noel, I am going to respond to the paragraph where you write about Alhaji, he is a good friend to Beah. He needs to have someone to go through it all with and they are really good friends. I wish that he got to go to America with him.


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