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Category Archives: Allah is Not Obliged
1. Why do you think General Samuel Doe bothered to use the language of democracy (“the voice of the people, the will of the people, all that shit…”) when it was apparent he was not a democrat? 2. Were you surprised to learn that one of the warlords (General Baclay) was a woman? What did… Continue reading
1. In Chapter 2, Birahima says “Child-soldiers are the most famous celebrities of the late twentieth century.” What do you make of this statement? Is the author using this to comment on the international perception of child-soldiers in developing countries? 2. Birahima spends a lot of time talking about the political history and current politics… Continue reading
What are the ways women are portrayed in this book? Is this contradictory? Birahima makes a lot of comments about he is not obliged to do certain things. For example, he says “Nobody can be obliged to do anything because no one’s got the time…” (p. 127). How do these statements relate to Allah not being… Continue reading
Birahima frequently describes horrific acts of violence and then proceeds to say that those involved then acted like “civilized men.” What comment is the author making about the society at that time? Is this an accurate portrayal? How does Birahima portray democracy in Africa? Birahima writes that “Humanitarian peacekeeping is when one country is allowed… Continue reading
1. At several points throughout the novel, Birahima summarizes various aspects of political history. How does hearing the history from a child’s point of view affect readers’ reception? Does hearing Birahima tell the history affect the illustration of Birahima as a character? How so? 2. Even up until the end of the novel, Kourouma leaves… Continue reading
1. What did you make of the repeated juxtaposition between “what African people say” and “what French people say” regarding certain phrases? 2. What did you make of the comment by a nurse that the speaker’s mother suffered from a “native disease” that couldn’t be treated with conventional medicine? 3. What do you suspect is… Continue reading
1. What does Birahima’s opening monologue and story of his life tell you about the conditions in Ivory Coast at the time? What is the political state surrounding this time? 2. Given our recent discussions of nationalism and the tension between colonial culture and nationalist pride, what does the use of two different dialects tell… Continue reading
1. Look at the narrator’s descriptions of the different rebel leaders. What problem is Kourouma trying to illustrate? What is the effect of this problem? 2. Drugs plays a large roll in this section. What do you think of the narrator’s attitude towards drugs? What does this show of the purpose of the use of… Continue reading
1. In the first pages of the novel, it becomes apparent that the novel’s narrator is a former child soldier. Do you believe the author’s portrayal of his characteristics and personality is accurate? In what ways do you believe this will effect the story? In what ways will Kourouma not being a child soldier himself… Continue reading
1. What do you think Birahima means by “Allah is not obliged to be fair about all things he does here on earth”? Does he actually believe this, or is he saying it with another motive? 2. What comment is being made about African society during this period through Birahima’s use of both French… Continue reading