Innocence and Experience

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At one point in our lives we were all children, learning things about life, experiencing new things, and understanding life’s lessons. We were all naïve and knew nothing about the world around us, we were all innocent to life and what it had to bring. It was not until we grew older that we began to lose our innocence with every new experience. Growing older means taking responsibility, accepting and overcoming life’s hardships and understanding oneself. So as we reach adulthood we begin to question when the conversion from innocence to experience occurs and what causes and marks this coming of age. In the novel They Poured Fire on Us From The Sky, the characters and plot prolong the opposition of innocence and experience and show us how they continuously overlap and occur throughout the lifetime of an individual. By analyzing the boy’s experiences of being refugees, their encounters with war, and their relationship and appreciation for the Dinkaland, we become aware of the connection between innocence and experience and how it is portrayed and represented in the novel.

Starvation, isolationism, and confusion, are words we unknowingly associate with refugees. None of us can fully understand and begin to relate to the thoughts and emotions of refugees. Most of what we know has been through books or media where the hardship of refugee life is depicted as horrifying, desperate, and unresponsive. In They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky, one of the main characters, Alepho depicts life as a refugee while giving us instances of experience where we are shown his loss of innocence. Through the text Alepho gives us a first hand account of his experience with being a refugee and how he has matured, transitioned into adulthood, and through all of this has ultimately been stripped of his innocence. “ The Soldiers who came to camp always said, “You know, I think there will be peace.” But although people always hoped and prayed for peace, peace never came and we lost hope”...
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