The Bite of the Mango and A Long Way Gone

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Monday morning, Sally, a twelve-year-old American girl, is woken up by her father. As she gets ready to go to school, her mother hands her a backpack and lunch with a quick kiss goodbye. Meanwhile, Zarina, a twelve-year-old Sierra Leone girl, wakes herself up to get ready for work. Her aunt says good morning as they both head from their home to the cassava fields. Both of these girls have a traditional family setting. In America children in a traditional family grow up with both biological parents and any siblings they have. In Sierra Leone, the setting for both The Bite of the Mango and A Long Way Gone, children of traditional families live with aunts and uncles as well as many children from different parents. These different views of what is traditional create uniqe children in many ways. Children who grow up in Sierra Leone are more self-reliant than American children. In American homes, a traditional family consists of a mother, a father, and some children, who are all siblings. In these families, the parents try to guide their children on the “right” path and each child is equal in their parents’ eyes. In Sierra Leone homes, their traditional family is very different. It will have a single biological parent, an uncle, an aunt, or a community member as the head of the house. There will be many children, but most will not be siblings. While these guardians will also be caring, they will not have the time to help each child with every little problem. The aunts or uncles may pick a favorite to focus their time on, often one who is their own child. These two types of families create interesting children, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The children in American traditional families will have obvious strengths. They w... ... middle of paper ... ...ives. These differences are direct by-products of the countries the children live in. One group lives in a world of peace, the other group in war. Each group will grow up with the skills they need to survive their surroundings, but of they were tossed in the other relm they would not succeed. Works Cited Beah, Ishmael. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007. Print. Cutright, Marc. "From Helicopter Parent to Valued Partner: Shaping the Parental Relationship for Student Success." New Directions for Higher Education Winter 2008: 39-48. Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection. Web. 11 Nov. 2013. "Helicopter Parenting Can Be a Good Thing." USA Today Magazine May 2010: 8-9. Points of View Reference Center. Web. 11 Nov. 2013. Kamara, Mariatu, and Susan McClelland. The Bite of the Mango. [Toronto]: Annick, 2008. Print.

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