Sunday, February 14, 2016

Journal 5 (Chapter 17) - Alyssa

In Chapter 17 Ishmael focuses on the relationship between him and Esther. Esther reaches out to him several times. At first, Ishmael is very skeptical of her and does not want to tell her anything. He even hopes that when he tells her the story of how he got shot, it will scare her and chase her away. Fortunately, the story does not scare her away, she simply tells him it's not his fault, which ultimately makes him angry. Esther, as an ultimatum, gave Ishmael a walkman with rap music to listen to. Every time Ishmael came in to see her, he would tell her about his dreams (so he could listen to more music) Esther was very respectful of him and would not give her opinion unless it was okay with him. One day, when Esther was not supposed to work she came and took both Alhaji and Ishmael to the city (Ishmael had a doctor appointment to go to). Esther gave both of the boys lots of love, which Ishmael rejected a lot of the time. Toward the end of this chapter, Ishmael had a very discomforting dream. This was when Esther told him that none of what was happening was his fault. This was also when Ishmael had an entire turn around, he believed her. This was all because of how genuine Esther was when she said that. He realized she really did care.

A major theme in this chapter is caring. It's so easy for people to just stop caring when someone pushes them away. It takes someone special to be able to keep trying to care for that person. This is exactly what Esther was doing. No matter how many times Ishmael rejected her, she kept coming back. For example, when she asked to be friends with him, Ishmael asked how he could trust her, she came back with the same question. But yet she continued to offer her friendship. Even when she was taking him to the doctor, he resisted her hugs and looked the other way when she hugged Alhaji. But yet she came back to him and gave him more hugs. Affection, of any kind, is a very important thing for children to have. Even more important for teenagers who grew up in the middle of a war without any. Esther continued to care for him. She listened to his stories about the war when he told them to her, she listened when he told about his dreams. It was very clear that she wanted to give him input, but wouldn't if he didn't want to. She had to care about him greatly to respect when he says he doesn't want any input. To tell someone that they don't want their input, but yet continue to care and listen to someone's hard times is a very hard task for anyone to do. It is very clear that Esther cares greatly about Ishmael. He realizes this towards the end of the chapter when he finally accepts the fact that the things that he is experiencing are not his fault.

In everyday life caring is all around us. Everyone has (or should have) a friend like Esther. Someone who will listen anytime there is something bad happening in their life, or when they're just upset about something that happened at work or at school. It doesn't have to be as huge of help as what Esther is giving to Ishmael. It could be something as small as someone having problems at work and they need someone to listen to them. Usually,
that type of help is found in a significant other, or a best friend. For me, it has always been my best friend Amber. It's a mutual help. Whenever she's upset about something I try very hard to help her. When I'm upset about anything, she's the first person I go to. In a Long Way Gone when Ishmael goes straight to Esther after he has that bad dream, it shows how much he relies on her. This is the same way for us. Everyone has (or should have) that person in their life that they go straight to whenever the first sign of trouble comes up.
I chose a picture of what represent friendship,
 to me friendship is two people caring greatly about each other.


  1. I like the theme that you have seen in this chapter. I agree that it is easy for people not to care at all. However, I feel that we as people should try harder to care. Without caring anything could happen. For example, I barely knew this kid at Pioneer and one day he just stopped showing up and later I found out he committed suicide. I just could not help but think what if I reached out and tried to become friends with him. I would say hi and stuff but I never truly took the time to get to know him and I still regret not getting to know him. The thing that sickened me was that no one even seemed to notice or cared. Except for our math teacher and I could truly see that he cared and took it hard. I strongly believe that we all should have at least one special someone that we can go to for anything if not more. I know I have two best friends like this and I can go to them for anything regardless of what it is and they can do the same with me.

  2. I really enjoyed what you wrote. Caring is incredible and it can change a lot in someone.


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