What emotions does Valentino’s story arouse that a more objective treatment could not?  

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the specific emotional experience that Valentino's story arouses that a more objective treatment might not is the sense of universality.  The narrative that Valentino depicts takes place in the Sudan.  However, one of the emotions that Valentino's narrative illuminates is a sense of empathy that a more objective treatment might lack.  Valentino stresses a universality in his narrative that might not necessarily be as present in a more objective treatment:  “The issue is complex, but like many matters in Sudan, it is not as complex as Khartoum would want the west to believe.” In being able to demonstrate a universal notion that can bind his narrative to those removed from it, Valentino's story arouses a connectable element that might not be as present in a more objective treatment.

Valentino's narrative enhances this universality through the way his story is told.  There is little in way of seismic political shifts of power and less in way of graphs or political data.  Rather, he speaks of emotional realities that can be understood regardless of political or social context:  "I have had friends who I decided were not good friends, were people who brought more trouble than happiness, and thus I have found ways to create more distance between us."  Ideas such as betrayal and hurt are ways in which Valentino's story is able to arouse more in way of connective emotions than what a more objective treatment might offer.  The way in which Valentino's story offers a redemptive and restorative hope solidifies this:

Whatever I do, however I find a way to live, I will tell these stories. I have spoken to every person I have encountered these last difficult days...I speak to these people, and I speak to you because I cannot help it. It gives me strength, almost unbelievable strength, to know that you are there. I covet your eyes, your ears, the collapsible space between us. How blessed are we to have each other? I am alive and you are alive and so we must fill the air with our words. I will fill today, tomorrow, every day until I am taken back to God.

Valentino's story strives to connect with the reader.  This primary motivation is distinct than a more traditional and objective reading of the historical condition of the Sudan.  This arouses more emotions than a more objective construction because it seeks to forge connection with the reader. 

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