Ashton T. Platt
In conclusion to Beah's A Long Way Gone and Cisneros' The House on Mango Street, here are some of my thoughts on both.
Beah is a strong story, and it really makes you think about life in other areas of the world. Most of the story takes place throughout the early 1990's. At the same time that I was born, the main character of this story (Ishmael) was experiencing some of the worst tragedies imaginable. It's almost hard to imagine that at the same time you were growing up another child on the other side of the world is being to force to fight in war and being brainwash to kill innocent people. This perspective could be used to show someone all the freedoms they take for granted everyday. The thing I would want to never forget about Ishmael is his ability to keep moving forward and eventually using his experience to tell stories and show the world what is going on where we are not looking.
Cisneros' book is definitely a change of pace when it comes to books I am used to reading. It is written in a short story style that I personally really liked, I may even incorporate this when I write my own stories (but i may add more conclusion). I also envy her ability to describe a situation, it is very easy to understand what she sees and tells. One of the best quotes to me in the books is from Red Clowns; "Sally, you lied. it wasn't what you said at all. what he did. where he touched me,. i didn't want it, sally. the way they said it, the way its supposed to be. all the storybooks and movies, why did you lie to me?" is very powerfull and dramatic and shows her abilities as a storyteller. It was interesting to watch her character slowly grow up and see to her experiences, and although not nearly as climactic as Beah, her characters stories are definitely another view of how others grow up in completely different lives, this case just happens to take place much closer.
In response to the film The Hobart Shakespeareans, I was somewhat envious of the children's teacher and the opportunities they had at that age, I really wish more school systems would work this hard and get their children involved, as Mr. Rafe did. most schools these days just focus on processing children through like cattle, it's distasteful. I'm very happy to see that children form such harsh environments are being taken into consideration with their education to the point where they are way more upset to leave school than to go to it.