I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoy A Long Way Gone, the book is very easy to read and follow. While I find it hard to follow The House on Mango Street, Cisneros is a very good creative writer and really lets you feel what she felt when she was experiencing what was going on. I can definitely say that I prefer Beah's book though. His writing style is completely different, he approaches it as if he were telling you rather than painting a picture for you like Cisneros does. For me it is much easier to understand Beah's. While reading both books when I see something that really speaks to me and peaks an interest, I underline them then highlight the most meaningful ones at the end of the chapter. I find it really hard to actively read in Cisneros' because there is some much detail in such a small portion and cannot narrow down what I find to be the most important and it's hard to follow the plot of where she is now and who's there and keeping track of characters. In Beah's in the longer chapters, at halfway I usually try to summarize the halfway point or up to the climax and everything leading up to it then have a theme and a nutshell at the end of chapter. Along the way if there is a disturbing scene or a very powerful event or even something that sticks out to me, it to gets underlined or highlighted.
I chose chapter 9, I titled it, Following the Current From Village to Village. I thought this title best suited this chapter due to the narrator's constant moving from village to village and the same thing has seemed to always occur, when they arrive at a village the six of them are perceived as either RUF (Revolutionary United Front) or spies. To the people of the village and the Chief of that village they are the same. The reason my title includes current is due to their arrival at the beach.
My nutshell for this chapter is, the six boys had arrived at the beach and had a moment for happiness and were all playful until finding the village that was presumably empty; village was in fact not empty but awaiting their arrival. The chief of that village took their shoes as punishment and sent them on their way, the children hadn't know how bad this punishment was until they arrived at the next village far away with torn flesh from the bottom of their feet. In this village just as the others they were taken captive and faced death, the only thing that stopped them from this doom was Beah's cassette tapes of rap music.
The vocabulary word that I chose was "soukous" on page 59. Soukous is a style of African music and dancing. The importance of this is it truly shows how hopeful, happy, and relaxed they were on the beach for the small instance.
The tolls of war is the theme I feel best describes this chapter. As shown by, "In truth, realizing that I would be eventually be caught, I had stopped running and offered my hands o be tied." (Beah 65). This really shows how much he has given up hope and use to this by now. To really show this, "I had been through this before, and wondered if it was a new experience for my present traveling companions." (65). He has been through the same situation a few times and last time there was a boy that saved him. This time there was no boy and he knew that. It drained the hope out of him as he was sitting there until yet again his cassette was found and interested the chief. The affect of every capture puts more and more strain on him and pushes him further away from people every time. There is this divide because he is stuck in another world just trying to survive and cling on to what hope he has left. When he said "present companions" it really shows the distance he has between people and that they really do not mean that much in the grand scheme of things. He is in pure self survival mode. In that village he may have been saved from sudden death, but by no means is he living.