1. In chapters 14-18, the character who has meant the most to me would be Esther. I really like her because she is a genuine character who really means well and can see the good in all the boys, especially Ismael. I have also really come to like her because Ismael has began to trust her which throughout the whole book a common theme was that there was trust in anyone. For Ismael to be able to trust someone is a huge change and jump forward in his rehabilitation. One example of this would be when Ismael started to open up about his nightmares. It was difficult for him to dream those dreams let alone talk about them with someone who he has just met so when he was able to tell Esther and she just listened to him, was a big breakthrough and a moment of pure trust.
2. I feel that Ismael had a rough start to his rehab, he was struggling with various withdrawal symptoms from not having access to any drugs or his gun which served as his protection from everything. However, after awhile he began to make friends and settle into his new life in Freetown and ended up becoming a spokesperson for the center talking to large groups of people about their experience there. I definitely believe that Ismael rehab is possible; he is a strong and smart boy who may be a trouble maker but wants to have a good life for himself. I can see why some people think that it would be unsafe and they would be a little skeptical about having a former child soldier living next door to them. However, I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. Those kids weren't always dangerous, they weren't always killers, they have just been deprived of a childhood that was rightfully theirs. Just because of this, doesn't mean that there is no hope for them to recovery and become "normal" citizens where they go about their lives like civilians rather than armed children.
3. One specific convention that I think Beah uses well is sense details. There are so many passages where he describes in such detail the experiences or what he sees, hears, feels, etc. On page 145, Beah is talking about how he and some of the other boys were still traumatized from the war, he says "whenever i turned on the tap water, all I could see was blood gushing out." This particular passage is not even one of his best but it really gets the reader to understand what he is constantly seeing in his mind and what he is thinking about..war, blood, bodies. When I read that, I got chills and the next time I turned on my water I was expecting blood to come out. Beah really connects to his audience with his use of sense details.
4. My favorite passage in this section was from the very first paragraph in chapter 15. This short passage that Ismael wrote really stuck out to me because it shows how broken and empty his life has become. Everything he knew and believed in was striped away from him and replaced with drugs, guns, and murder. He specifically said "The extent of my thoughts didn't go much beyond that. We had been fighting for 2 years, and the killing had become a daily activity. I felt no pity for anyone. My childhood had gone by without my knowing, and it seemed as if my heart had frozen." To say the least, this passage is just sad and really makes me think about what is must be like to always be on the run and murdering someone in cold blood every day for two years. The boys were so brainwashed in the war that nothing felt right or wrong to them and to lose that sense of humanity would be unimaginable.