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For months, Beah stays alive by overcoming hunger, violence and isolation. When Beah becomes a soldier, he is trained to tap into his rage in order to kill rebels. The officers manipulate the boys into thinking they are exacting revenge on the people who killed their families. Beah acknowledges it is unlikely that he and his fellow soldiers confront those actually responsible for their families' deaths, but the temptation to believe is strong. They accept this as reality - fueled by drugs and violent films - and operate on the assumption that they kill or be killed.