Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Global Issues Novel Study: Task #1

For the next while, I am going to be participating in a novel study exploring various global issues within our society. Click here for more information. The novel I have chosen to read out of the various options is War Brothers by Sharon E. McKay. So far I have read 20% of the novel, enough to begin to analyze the content.

What is the main issue being addressed in your novel?
In the book War Brothers, the focus is on Joseph Kony's army of abducted child soldiers, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). There are many references in the book to this event, even though neither of our characters have yet been taken. "He is sad because he grandfather was taken by Kony." Joseph spoke in a matter-of-fact voice. Tony's mouth dropped open. They took him as he was walking home from school, and that is the last anyone has heard about him. He was just a little younger than us, then." And, "Kony can't get us, you know. We are safe." 

Why did you choose this piece for your project?
I chose this book because the fact the children the age I once was have had their childhood stripped from them. The topic of child soldiers just makes me extremely angry. At their ages they should still be innocent and not have to go through all the things they have and seen all the things they have seen. 

What background knowledge do you already possess on this issue? 
Though I do feel strongly about children not being abducted to become child soldiers, I don't know much background information on the issue. I am aware of Kony and his army of abducted children, but the details I know are few, and obscure. 

What questions do you have as you begin to read?
My main question I had while reading was how the two boys will become abducted. I am unsure how Kony's child army operates, so I was totally clueless as to how this will happen. Also, since Jacob's father is wealthy and he goes to a school with extra guards, how will he become part of the LRA? I also wondered what "cassava" is. When I looked it up, it turned out to be a woody shrub that grows in Africa and South America and is also the root of tapioca. I was also curious to another aspect of their culture, religion. It mentions how many people are Christian (Oteka and Jacob included), and how the witchcraft from the medicine man goes against their religion, but what other religions are prevalent in their society? And is Kony targeting those people? My last detail I noticed was that Bella, the maid, was described as being very, very old at over 50 years old. This shows that diseases mentioned like AIDS really affect their life span. Here, very old is around 90 years old! That's a huge difference in years. I had more questions too about why this difference might be so large. 

What characters have been introduced so far?
So far we've been introduced to both Jacob and Oteka, the two young boys who are the focus of the story, and from what I understand, both get taken by the LRA. Oteka's story is very interesting and sad, and Jacob's is much less sad, and he as a person is often both naive and ignorant so far from what I have gathered. I think that his experiences in the novel will change him however. We also have met many more characters such as Ethel and Bella (maids at Jacob's), Jacob's father and his friends, Tony (Jacob's friend), Adaa (Oteka's honorary grandmother), Oteka's deceased family, and the medicine man Oteka visits. And of course, we've heard lots about Joseph Kony. 

Right now I am still getting a feel for the culture, setting, and characters, but I am very much anticipating when the deeper issues begin to be explored. Thanks for reading!


  1. Definitely sounds like a read worth spending some time on. I'm also pretty clueless about the whole Kony thing, but I was always curious about it.... let me know what you think of this. (:

    1. I'm definitely glad to be reading it since it's a very important topic in Uganda. At first it was interesting but not super gripping, but now the speed is picking up and more information is being revealed which is great! I'll be sure to keep you posted haha. (:


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