NHS Sophomore ISAT Prep (Literature) discussion

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Day to Day > A Long Way Gone: Day 5

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message 1: by Mrs. Reader (last edited Mar 12, 2013 06:48AM) (new)

Mrs. Reader (nhs_sophomore_english) | 9 comments Mod
Read Chapter 14-15

In this section, Ishmael Beah continues to show us how children are turned into soldiers. Discuss one of the “lieutenant’s” techniques, explaining how and/or why it was successful.

* * *

Use the rest of your time to catch up on previous days’ work.

Yes, your teachers read your posts and yes, many of you are behind.

Get to work!


message 2: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Pokorney | 7 comments Marissa Pokorney
Ms. Richardson
Sophmore English 1A
13 March 2013

The lieutenants give the children tons of drugs. I found this very disturbing. They are constintly high on various drugs and it causes them to lose their mind. All they ever think about is killing other people, if they even think at all. It's a good strategy by the lieutenants, because they pretty much are brainwashed and they have no idea how to be human anymore. It's a strategy used also by the nazis.

Question: Do you agree or disagree that the army is just as bad as the rebels?


message 3: by Joey (new)

Joey Tran | 8 comments Joey Tran
Mrs.Reader
Sophomore English 4A
13 March 2013

I believe the most important and effective technique the lieutenants use was to get inside of the childrens' heads. His quote, "From now on, we kill any rebel we see, no prisoners.", really affected Ishmael to get him to kill mercilessly. Of course the "brown brown" (cocaine mixed with gunpowder), marijuana, and white pills also helped them brainwash the soldiers. War movies (such as Rambo) influences the soldiers significantly. The higher ranks also make killing essentially a game. Because of all of these techniques that the lieutenants use to brainwash the soldiers, they have became inhumane and believe that killing is a game now. On page 124, one of the higher ranks has 5 prisoners and makes a game out of who kills their prisoner the fastest.

Ishmael is merciless now. He is addicted to drugs and wants to kill rebels to avenge his family. He is always looking forward to raiding rebel camps. It is sickening to hear that, "...killing had become as easy as drinking water." (page 122).

To answer Marissa Pokorney's question:
I do believe the army is just as bad as the rebels because of the merciless killing both side does. They raid each others' camps and kill because they are told to. From the point of view of the reader, the "army" is supposedly the "good guys". However, they are not really "good", they are killing for fun.

Joey's question of the day:
How are the soldiers so trained that even some of the MPs got injured?


message 4: by Kara (new)

Kara | 9 comments Kara Miller
Ms. Richardson
Sophomore English, 2B
14 March 2013

The lieutenant uses many techniques to turn the young teens into soldiers. The most powerful thing that does is convince the boys that what they are doing is perfectly right. He says on more than one occasion that the rebels are the people who destroyed their villages, their homes, and their families – the boys are only avenging that and attempting to protect other villages from having the same thing happen to them. At least, that is what they believe they are doing. Another good tactic the lieutenant uses is that he doesn’t ask them to be soldiers until they have no choice; he respects the boys before they even become soldiers and so when they become soldiers they already have a lot of respect and trust in the lieutenant, which gives him more power to control/use them.

To Marissa: Yes, I believe that the army is just as bad as the rebels. They are fighting without mercy, recruiting young boys, and taking villages as their base. I agree with what Joey said about the army seeming like the “good guys”. If my research is correct, the insurgents were fighting against the government partially because education wasn’t available to everyone. The rebels have a good cause for their fighting, but I think all the fighting has just gotten out of hand, and now people are fighting because it’s the only way to stay alive.

To Joey: The MPs are city soldiers and so they haven’t learned the same “rules” as the army has. Most likely they haven’t had to fight in any real battles; their job seems to be more of peace keepers or law enforcers than that of a soldier. They simply had no idea, no experience of what to expect from the boys.

My question: If Ishmael hadn’t gone to get more ammunition from the next village, where the lieutenant was, do you think he still would have ended up at the rehabilitation centers? Do you think that they were sent to get ammunition that day on purpose?


message 5: by Kaylee (new)

Kaylee Campbell | 7 comments Kaylee Campbell
Mrs. Reader
Sophomore English 3B
14 March 2013

One of the useful tactics the lieutenant uses is when he gives the soldiers the white pills. Those give them so much energy that it really is helpful when they need to work. However, when it’s time to sleep and the boys are so awake from the pill, it is very sad. Especially since they become addicted to the pills. Now, not only are the boys fighting and doing horrifying things, now they are addicted to drugs. Not only the white pills, but now marijuana and brown brown.

My question: How can someone get to be so sick? Like when the boys are having a “throat slitting competition”- that is so horrifying.

To Marissa: I believe the army is just as bad as the rebels. They are doing these horrible, sick things just like the rebels. I believe they think they are better than the rebels, but in all actuality, they’re being just as cruel as the rebels are.


message 6: by Lydia (new)

Lydia | 10 comments Lydia Muhlstein
Mrs. Reader
Sophomore English 4B
14 March 2013

One of the main things the lieutenants are doing to turn these children to soldiers is giving them all kinds of drugs. They are giving them the white pills, marijuana, and “brown brown” to help brainwash and “energize” them. They also are watching war movies, such as Rambo, to get them prepared. At this point they are losing their humanity and are just focusing on killing. They have games to see who can kill the most people first and they have throat slitting competitions. This is just sickening to think about because some of these kids are 13 years old.

To answer Marissa’s question, yes they are as bad as the rebels. At this point they are all just going out there trying to kill people; which make them both equally bad.

My question is, if they killed all the rebels, do you think they would still have the urge to kill and start going to other places, like the rebels, to kill other civilians?


message 7: by Katie (new)

Katie | 7 comments Katie Dickerson
Mrs. Reader
Sophomore English
14 March 2013

One of the most effective tactics the lieutenant uses to control the soldiers is his constant brainwashing. He actually gets the boys to believe that all the horrific things they are doing is justified, that they’re avenging their families. Along with this, they’re frequently exposed to war movies, and addicted to several varieties of drugs. The whole combination of these factors turns a bunch of ordinary children into merciless killing machines.

In answer to Marissa’s question: Yes, I believe the army is just as bad as the rebels. Both of them have done terrible things, and forced children to commit those acts. Because of this, I’d say both are just about equal in terms of “badness”.

My Question: How do you think Ishmael would have ended up if he didn’t get taken to the rehabilitation center?


message 8: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Condon | 6 comments Elizabeth Condon
Mrs. Reader
Sophomore English 1A
13 March 2013
Giving drugs to children?! REALLY?! I mean COME ON. There has got to be a different way to get people to want to fight then getting them high and sending them out with knives and guns. This is despicable and I refuse to speak anymore for possibly using words I shouldn’t.

To answer Lydia’s question: No, I don’t think they with to kill any more than they have to so they can survive.

My question: Why do people seemingly kill for fun?


message 9: by Xochitl (new)

Xochitl Sanchez | 6 comments Xochitl Sanchez
Mrs. Reader
Sophomore English 1A
15 March 2013


One of the main techniques the Lieutenant uses is constantly messing with the soldier’s minds. He has the soldiers take "energizer" pills, marijuana, and brown brown. All these drugs mess with their minds and are constantly altering their thoughts. When they are on the drugs, they aren't fully aware of what they are doing. They start to believe that all the terrible crimes they are committing are fine. The lieutenant also makes them watch war movies to get them pumped up and prepared for war. They no longer act humans and their main focus is to kill.

To Marissa: Yes I believe that the army is just as bad as the rebels. They use children as soldiers and have no mercy for no one. They both teach the children that killing is acceptable when its not.


message 10: by Anna-Marie (last edited Mar 31, 2013 02:51PM) (new)

Anna-Marie Vargas (anna-marie_vargas) | 7 comments Anna-Marie Vargas
Reader
Sophomore English 1A
31 March 2013

One of the lieutenant’s successful (so called) “techniques” of turning the children into soldiers is drilling into their minds the fact that there is nothing else to life except for the war, and destroying the rebels. This is done by allowing the children to constantly be in the battlefield, and when they are not, they are watching violent movies that allow their minds to become accustomed to seeing death and blood, so that such things become simply commonplace in their minds; and thus they are quickly changed from children into soldiers.

Another “technique” used by the lieutenant is giving them large amounts of drugs, and getting them to become addicted to them. This deadens their minds and bodies to what is going on around them, and gives them a good feeling about the war, even though it is, in fact, the drugs giving them that feeling.

In answer to Marissa’s question, I agree that the army is equally as bad as the rebels are. They are manipulating the minds of mere children in order to utilize them as soldiers for their own protection, simply because they lack the sufficient man power.

My question: Do you think that Ishmael is always going to carry some hatred in his heart for the rebels and the RUF?


message 11: by Cassie (new)

Cassie | 9 comments Cassie Leitzke
Mrs. Reader
English 3/4
1 April 2013

The drugs that they were receiving acted like an escape from the reality that was happening. They all didn't truly know what was going on because they were on drugs that made them feel as if it wasn’t happening, that what was going on wasn’t real. And I think the lieutenant’s strategy of doing this was a great benefit to them because it kept the soldiers under control, as terrible as that does sound. I think another thing that kept the soldiers motivated was the fact that they would watch old war movies. They would grab techniques from the movies and try to implement them in the war setting.

My question: How do people not understand that killing someone is terrible? Taking away someone’s one and only life to live because of your own selfishness?

To Anna, I believe he will always carry hatred in his heart. I don't know about anyone else but if something that bad were to corrupt me I'd definitely be carrying some hatred towards whatever had ruined me. Also though he may forgive them, he may realize that these people had the wrong image in their head. Maybe some of the ex members of the rebel group and RUF are changed by what they have done and are scarred as much as Ishmael is.


message 12: by Callan (new)

Callan Gardner | 5 comments Callan Gardner
Mrs. Thompson
Sophomore English 4A
1 April 2013

The lieutenant's stratagey was very successful. They wanted the children to be mindless killers, and by having them see what they saw and get addicted to drugs like marijuana, the white energy pills, and the mix between cocaine and gunpowder. The lieutenants also tell the boys that they are fighting for a cause while the rebels fight and kill aimlessly. But as it says, they run out of their drugs, so they invade other's camps to get their drugs, which to me, doesn't seem like much of a cause. Eventually, they get the kids saying, "killing is as easy as drinking water" (122)


message 13: by Abel (new)

Abel Archuleta | 6 comments Abel Archuleta
Mrs. Richardson
Sophomore English 2B
2 April 2013

The Lieutant's strategies were deceptive yet very effective. A main thing was giving the young boys so much drugs, I find that very irresponsible and honestly quite cruel. He also constantly stated how the rebels were the enemy and they were the ones who had killed their families. "visualize the enemy, the rebels who killed your parents, your family, and those who are reponsible for everything that has happened to you" (112). Basically,the children were brainwashed to kill.


message 14: by Brooklyn (new)

Brooklyn | 7 comments Brooklyn Riepma
Mrs. Thompson
Sophomore English 3B
2 April 2013

One of the lieutenant’s techniques that were successful was by telling them that what they were doing was a good thing and that it was right. On page 123, the lieutenant is giving the boys a speech about that. On page 124, Beah says that he felt special because he was a part of something that took him seriously and that he was not running form anyone anymore.
Another tactic that the lieutenant uses goes along with the first one. He tells the boys that their guns are the most important thing. On page 124, Beah said that the corporal always said that their guns are their source of power and that it will protect them and give them anything they need. This encouraged the boys to learn how to fight and to not be afraid to kill.
One last technique the lieutenant used was by giving them all of those drugs. He gave them the white pills, marijuana, and cocaine to give them more energy. Page 122 says “The combination of these drugs gave us a lot of energy and made us fierce.” The lieutenant used this technique to motivate and cause them to want to fight and kill even more.


message 15: by Peyton (new)

Peyton Adams | 7 comments Peyton Adams
Mrs. Reader
Sophomore English-1A
7 April 2013

Prompt: The lieutenant uses many techniques in training the boys. I think what he does all together is just plain brainwash them. He gets them high and makes them watch war movies. "After several doses of these drugs, all I felt was numbness to everything and so much energy that I couldn't sleep for weeks. We watched movies at night. War movies, Rambo: First Blood, Rambo II, Commando, and so on..." (121). He then talks about how killing and guns have become his second nature. I think the lieutenant is brainwashing them all to just become the perfect soldiers, with no feelings of sorrow or remorse.

Q: How do you think the movies effect the boys? Do you think movies and video games effect anyone in today's society?

Marissa: Yes, I think forcing children into soldiery is as bad as killing innocent people. You are putting children into grave dander and horrible situations while robbing them of their childhood. Making children kill people is like telling them it's ok and could cause horrible things to happen to their minds in later adulthood.


message 16: by Krista (new)

Krista Montierth | 7 comments Krista Montierth
Ms. Richardson
Sophomore English A1
7 April 2013

Prompt: One technique that the lieutenant used that I thought he was successful in was telling the boys that what they were doing was right. He was successful in doing this because if you tell a young boy that these people killed his family then that boy is obviously going to get angry and want to be strong and a fight back because boys are already wanting to be heroes at that young age and want to be fearless and the good guy. Of course the many drugs that they were given must have added to the effect of getting them to fight because when you are on certain drugs you can be persuaded to do almost anything and it causes a lot of violent behavior. They played violent games too. Even when they were in the river playing and swimming they would pretend that some were the good guys and some where the bad guys that needed to be captured. If anyone was around this type of environment then they would become accustomed to this behavior and think nothing was wrong with it. But it wasn't their fault.

To answer Cassie's question, "How do people not understand that killing is terrible?" I think that they know its terrible but they think its okay when they are fighting for their family and loved ones and to get back at the people they hate and to teach them a lesson. My question is, Do you think that if this were to happen to any of us as children we would fall for the techniques and tactics the lieutenant used on the boys?


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