Early in the book, Ishmael says, "the war had destroyed the enjoyment of the very experience of meeting people"(48). Where else in the book's outgoing struggle between trust and survival. Can these two phenomena coexist?
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Ismael must contend with trust and survival throughout the book. After Ishmael finds himself travelling with a group of boys he notices that in every villages trust is a rare emotion. People stare at them weary that they might be child soldiers. Ismael complains that the essence of human understanding is lost; people are too afraid of each other. When food and ones very survival is constantly tenuous, "trust" becomes a more relative term. Hungry and terrified the boys find safety with the lieutenant of an RUF unit. THey can trust him for food and drugs as long as he can trust them to fight like an animal. Trust hence becomes a tradable commodity and not based on simple human friendship and love. It takes Ismael a long time to form trust as we know it with people who truly care about him like Esther, the nurse at the Unicef camp.
Just to clarify, Ishmael joined (and was a child soldier) the Sierra Leone Armed Forces and not the R.UF.