What are most of Ishmael's flashbacks about?

Most of Ishmael's flashbacks are about his wartime experiences as a child soldier in Sierra Leone. In one such flashback, he remembers the first time he cut a man's throat.

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As with many of those who participate in armed conflict, Ishmael has been deeply traumatized by his experiences of war. He often finds himself plagued by horrific memories of the past, when he fought as a child soldier in the bloody, bitter civil war in the West African state of...

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As with many of those who participate in armed conflict, Ishmael has been deeply traumatized by his experiences of war. He often finds himself plagued by horrific memories of the past, when he fought as a child soldier in the bloody, bitter civil war in the West African state of Sierra Leone.

These were years when Ishmael should've been leading a happy, carefree existence. But like so many other young boys, his formative years were disfigured by the horrors of war, of which Ishmael was both victim and perpetrator. Because as well as witnessing so many horrific events, Ishmael was responsible for carrying many of them out.

In one such case, he slit a man's throat, the very first time he'd done such a thing. This harrowing incident comes back to him in a recurring flashback. Every time this terrible memory comes back to him, Ishmael hears the same “sharp cry” in his head that makes his spine hurt.

On one such occasion, he tries to put this traumatic memory of his mind by rolling his head on the cold cement floor or putting his head under a cold shower, but nothing works. He develops a serious migraine that's so bad he can't even walk. Eventually, the migraine stops, but Ishmael's still unable to sleep. At that moment, he's all too aware that he won't be able to face the nightmares he knows will come.

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