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Since the beginning of mankind people have known to resolve their problems with war and disputes. One example of conflict that many people don’t know about is all the genocide that is going on in Sudan. Many innocent people are dying but there are some survivors. A better way to understand the magnitude of this event is to see it through the eyes of another person. Dave Eggers does this in the book, What is the What by showing the reader war through Valentino’s eyes. Some emotions gained from reading this book are anger and sympathy for the people in Sudan. What is the What arouses anger in the reader. The reader feels angry because the Muslims are just destroying the Dinka with no regret at all. Reading Valentino’s story through his eyes is why the reader feels so angry because one sees all the things that Valentino saw. If one read a story that just described what happened I wouldn’t feel angry. The reader would feel more sad because then one would just be reading facts instead of stories. The Dinka isn’t the type of tribe that is content to fight in a war and their government isn’t very strong so the reader would fell sympathy for the Dinka. They are just trying to escape the war, they don’t want to fight. Reading Valentino’s story gives the reader a better understanding of why one feels this way, because in the beginning of the book all Valentino does is travel in order to get away from the war.Reading a historical point of view wouldn’t give the reader the same emotions that, What is the What arouses. Reading Valentino’s story really provides one with a better understanding of what the Dinka go through. But would one receive similar emotions from reading a historical point of view of this event? It is doubtful. by, alex D.
Amanda M.February 12, 2009 War affects everyone at some point during ones lifetime. Whether a family member has served time or one is a citizen when a country is ravaged by war, everyone is either directly or indirectly related to war. In Dave Eggers’ autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng, What is the What, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, we read about Valentino’s experiences during the Sudan war. Learning about one’s personal experience is always more realistic than seeing what historians have to say about a historical event. In the autobiography, Valentino shows emotions about the hardships he survived during his lifetime and the genocide that took place in his country. Valentino Achak Deng is apart of the Dinka culture. Valentino went through a lot of tough times before the age of 11. It is hard to realize what is truly going on in Sudan until you hear someone’s person experience. Historians can only know so much. The Dinka culture has been through so much, back in Sudan they lived a fulfilled life. They had schools, food, and plenty of water. But their government started a mass killing and the Sudanese were either forced out of their homes with nothing, or brutally killed. The Dinka men that were left, walked to Ethiopia where they didn’t have anything. The Dinka men survived this, and many then walked to Kenya. In Kenya, there was a refugee camp with shelter, food and water. Valentino shows for longing for his homeland when he goes through some rough times in the United States. The genocide that is happening in Sudan is very intense. In What is the What, Valentino tells readers his journey as a Lost Boy of Sudan. The Lost Boys of Sudan walked from Sudan to Ethiopia and then Kenya. Hearing Valentino’s story can really make it clear what has truly been going on in Sudan, Africa. Valentino is still emotional about his time as a Lost Boy, he is constantly being brought into situations where he is reminded of his awful experiences. Valentino Achak Deng has been directly affected by war. Valentino has passed on his story which brings readers to the realization of how terrible the genocide in Sudan really is. One would not be as able to come to the same level of realization if one learned about the Sudanese from historians droning on about their thoughts of the Dinka culture and genocide in Sudan.
Sudan, a war filled country with violence occurring every day, is filled with corruption and terror. Kids not even older than 13 are forced to take care of the younger kids. Villages are being burned down to the ground, while the villagers run for their lives. Everyone has faced something similar like the Sudanese civilians have went through; Being insulted, get beat up, trying to save your life, etc. War is usually depicted as the only solution to a problem. However, war can be devastating, not only physically, but mentally as well. War, as accounted for in the book What is the What which is written by Dave Eggers, can affect a person mentally and scar that person for life, put your life in peril, and damage you physically. In most countries, war is usually depicted as a horrific even that severely damages a country in many ways. However, few countries around the world see was as a good thing that will bring their country land and recourses that will help their country flourish. In What is the What, Valentino, a Lost Boy of Sudan, shows that he sees war as a terrible action and it horrifies him. Valentino witnesses events every day that completely shock him. It is clearly shown in the book as he tells the person mistreats Valentino the story of his life. Valentino cannot simply forget the actions that occurred right in front of his eyes. These events were very violent and cruel that they cannot be simply forgotten. One event that Valentino remembers very clearly is the “mother” incident. The “mother” tells The Lost Boys that she is their mother and she opens her arms to them. As the boys walk to her, the “mother” pulls out a rifle and shoots the young boys point blank. The boy’s lives had just ended because they were tricked by an evil woman. The fact that a woman kills the boys shows how war can affect a person mentally. Many people around the world do not know how war can be life threatening outside the main battles. During a war, people struggle to survive. They prepare themselves for any battles that might come to town, supply food to soldiers, watch relatives go off to battle, etc. War can completely change a person. Civilians and soldiers lose arms and legs when in war. As a result, they end up going crazy because they cannot live demented. War is just an evil act and there is just no way to stop it. The war in Sudan has ended people’s lives, affect their mental state, and as well as physical state. The genocide in Sudan continues every day. However, to keep up-to-date on all of the events of the war, we must learn from a person that has lived in Sudan, not a news source. The Lost Boy or refugee from Sudan can go into great depth about the war. The Lost Boy has experienced what has happened and how it affected their life. Valentino shows in the story how his emotions can change all of a sudden because of the war. Valentino, when living in Marial Bai, had barely known of the war. He recognized the soldiers, but that was it. That is the beauty of learning from a person that has experienced the war, because there is some much detail. However, learning from a news source does not go into great depth about the story, and is not always reliable. Sudan has been through enough of war, and it has to end now before the war can affect any more people mentally and physically.Panos N.
War impacts everyone; throughout history man has been involved in war. In extreme cases genocide has broken out. Sudan, a country in Africa is one of many places that have been struck by the hardships of war. It is one of the extreme cases of genocide. Dave Egger’s What is the What is a biography written to the memories and events of Valentino Acka Deng; a Lost Boy that has survived all of this death. The opening chapter of his tales has expressed many examples of irony. Valentine was a Lost Boy; he was a survivor of genocide and lived through extreme hardships. The living conditions were terrible due to war. This leads to the first account of irony in the chapter. The fact that he has finally achieved the goal of making it to America and to him America is a route of salvation. In this place he is being robbed. The place of salvation his house is being robbed. Another example of irony is directly after he is robbed he thinks about the refugee camp and remembers. All he had was one pair of pants one meal a day but he was never robbed. These examples of irony help to further connect to Valentino’s experiences. There are more examples of Irony in the first few pages. A very ironic event is when Powder decides to give Valentino some advice. The advice is to never let strangers in his house; or he might be robbed. This is ironic because Powder robbing him because Valentino has let a stranger in his house. Powder sparks a flashback for Valentino; and now the setting has transferred to Africa in his childhood. He remembers a women; a motherly figure in a place of murder. Children are being shot all around them. She calls to the very young boys that she is there mother; and to come to her. They come and when there close enough she shoots them; Valentino runs and escapes. This flashback is ironic; a motherly figure promises safety and murders the boys. Valentino is very specific to details. He thinks very deeply and notifies things that others wouldn’t. It is ironic that he is so attuned to details, but he does not notice the gun that Powder is holding. He does finally learn of the gun when he is hit by it; but when the gun is shown he realizes his mistake. The examples of irony help push Valentino’s struggles, stories, and accounts. Irony has led him to flashbacks. The major theme of iron is that after surviving mass genocide and feeling secure he is now again in danger. This keeps the reader interested in the story at every turn. Anthony Berardi
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