Analytical Report on the essay “God Grew Tired of Us” by John Bul Dau

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Analytical Report1: The objective of this assignment is to be aware of the power of sensory details.

Read carefully the essay “God Grew Tired of Us” by John Bul Dau (page 41). Write an Analytical Report (7-8 paragraphs/ 2 pages) in which you explore:

Introduction: Write about the idea of how sensory details make effective writing and comment on Bul Dau’s essay + thesis statement (what your essay is about) / short paragraph
1) Brief summary of his experience to create context for the reader. This way reader knows to what you are referring.

2) Examples of various sensory details that make Bul Dau note why the events were “etched in his memory like acid” (several paragraphs – don’t lump all the senses in one paragraph. And use transitions between paragraphs. Review your handbook on how to use transitions between paragraphs and to progress the paper.)

3) What you learn about such a process of thinking and making reality — how his senses made him so aware. What do you learn about power of observation,
This MUST NOT be just a summary but a critical analysis of observation and senses that make power of recall of effective.
In 5-6 sentences make your concluding comments on power of observation to influence the reader. Can you think of an experience of such tense and sensitive detail that affected you here?
This writing will make you aware of your mind and how you think. Reflect carefully on the details and his writing so you can carefully craft your essay.

Type in the MLA style, 700-800 words. Write in the 3rd person. Provide Introductory paragraph + body/supporting paras + conclusion.

Typed neatly in MLA style. Double-spaced ONLY. Make sure you have a one-inch margin all round and provide Name etc. on top left. Number pages on top right.

God Grew Tired of Us John Bul Dau

John Bul Dau was one of three central figures in a documentary film called God Grew Tired of Us; the film is about the thousands of Sudanese boys who fled their homes during the 1983–2005 civil war and wandered for years in search of refuge. John Bul Dau chose the same title, God Grew Tired of Us for his autobiography from which this excerpt is taken. His story begins with an attack on his village in 1987. Notice as you read how he uses the revelations of his senses to develop his story.

The night the djellabas came to Duk Payuel,* I remember that I had been feeling tense all over, as if my body were trying to tell me something. I could not sleep.

It was a dark night, with no moon to reflect off the standing water that pooled beside our huts. My parents and the other adults were sleeping outside, so the children and elderly could all be inside, away from the clouds of biting insects. My brothers and sisters and I, as well as about a dozen refugees from other villages in southern Sudan, stretched out on the ground inside a hut that had been built especially for kids. I lay in the sticky heat, tossing and turning on a dried cowhide, while others tried to sleep on mats of aguot, a hollow, grasslike plant from the wetlands that women of my Dinka tribe stitch together. Our crowded bodies seemed to form their own patchwork quilt, filling every square foot with arms and legs.

I opened my eyes and stared toward the grass ceiling and the sticks that supported it, but I could see nothing. Inside the hut it was as dark as the bottom of a well. All was silent except for the whine of the occasional mosquito that penetrated the defenses of the double door, a two-foot-high opening filled with twin plugs of grass that were designed, with obviously limited success, to keep pests outside.

Silence. It must have been around 2 a.m.


Then, a whistle. It started low and soft at first, then grew louder as it came closer. Other whistles joined the chorus. Next came a sound like the cracking of some giant limb in the forest. Again, the same sound, louder and in short bursts. I wondered if I was dreaming. As deafening explosions made the earth vibrate beneath me and hysterical voices penetrated the walls of the hut, I realized what was happening.

My village was being shelled.

I sprang up, fully awake. In my panic, I tried to run, but the hut’s interior was so impenetrably black I slammed headfirst into something hard. The impact knocked me backward, and I fell onto the bodies of the other children. I could not see even the outline of the door. But I could hear the voices of my brothers and sisters, loud and crying as the shells began exploding, punctuated by the occasional burst of automatic gunfire.

“Is this the end of the world?” a woman screamed in panic somewhere outside the hut. There was a pause, and other voices repeated the question. I did not know the answer. Then I heard my mother calling my name. “Dhieu! Dhieu!” she screamed. Try as I might, I could not figure out where the voice came from. I strained to listen, but recumbent bodies had come alive all over the floor and children inside the hut started to scream, too. My mother shrieked the names of my brothers and sisters, who were in the hut with me, and cried, “Mith! Mith!” (“Children! Children!”). The village cattle joined in, mooing and urinating loudly, like a rainstorm, in their fright.

My whole being focused on the single thought of finding the door. I scrambled around the darkened interior of the hut, bumping into a mass of suddenly upright bodies. A group of us, a tangle of arms and legs, flailed around the room, trying to find the way out. We ran into each other, and all of us fell, a jumble of bodies on the ground. The hut seemed not to have a door, and in the chaos and darkness I felt as if I were suffocating. It was a living nightmare.

Suddenly, I felt a hint of a breeze. It had to be from an opening in the exterior wall. I stumbled, let out a cry, and strained toward the puff of fresh air. I found myself on top of somebody, but I could see the door’s faint outline. I crawled through the two layers of grass that formed the door of the hut and emerged into the outside world.

I stood and watched the strangely red dawn of a world gone mad. The undergrowth in our village is as thick as a curtain in the rainy season, the eight-foot-tall grasses blocking the view of the horizon. On this night, though, fires had burned away some of the brush. I could see neighbors’ huts normally hidden to me, ablaze like fireworks. A big luak––cowshed––in the distance, its squat brown, conical roof awash in crimson, resembled a miniature volcano. Shells landed in showers of dirt, smoke, and thunder. Bullets zipped through the air like angry bees, but I could not see who fired them.

I started to run but did not know where to go. Suddenly, my father ran from right to left in front of me. I pivoted and followed him. He ran between the huts, and I tried to catch up with him, but, after about a hundred yards, he halted and knelt, disappearing into the grass at the edge of a footpath. I kept running. As I started to pass him in the darkness, my father reached up, grabbed my shoulder, and pulled me down beside him.

He motioned me to be quiet, and we knelt together in the grass at the edge of the path. I crumpled awkwardly. My weight pressed on my right leg, which had folded beneath me. I half-rose and tried to shift my body to get comfortable, but I had moved only a fraction when my father gestured to me to freeze.

Within seconds a line of shadowy forms, carrying automatic rifles, ran along the path toward the hut I had just left. There were perhaps nine men, dressed in dark clothes. They did not see us. They passed close enough for me to spit on them, if I had been so inclined. As they vanished beyond a curve in the path, I could hear them fire their guns. The shooting seemed to ring inside my head, and I clapped my hands to my ears. A bitter taste flooded my mouth. Perhaps the sourness of my tense stomach had overflowed. It’s odd to remember such a small detail now, but the events of that night are cut into my memory as if etched by acid.

My father dropped low to the ground and seized me with one hand. With the other hand, he pulled himself deeper into the bush, dragging me behind him like a sack of millet. I started to crawl. We moved through the muck, smearing our knees and hands, until we reached the sanctuary of the forest. Inside the shelter of the trees, where the djellabas could not see us, we rested. My father did not speak, and I did not press him to do so.

The light grew. It was not daybreak, but the dance of fire on the huts and surrounding trees made it seem so. I heard more gunshots and more crying. I knew nobody in the village had a gun, so each report of the automatic rifles could only mean more death for those I loved. I recall having two thoughts. First, I convinced myself that the women in the village had been right: It really was the end of the world. Second, I wondered what had happened to my mother and my siblings.

After two hours, the sounds of attack faded. I took stock of my situation. I had just turned 13. I was naked. I carried no food or water. My village had been destroyed. I had become separated from my mother and siblings. Armed men who spoke a foreign tongue combed the forests and grasslands, and if they found me, they most likely would kill me. The only good thing I could imagine was that I might be safe for a while.

It was then that I realized the man who sat beside me was not my father. In the 19 years since that August night, as one of the “lost boys” of Sudan, I have witnessed my share of death and despair. I have seen the hyenas come at dusk to feed on the bodies of my friends. I have been so hungry and thirsty in the dusty plains of Africa that I consumed things I would rather forget. I have crossed a crocodile-infested river while being shelled and shot at. I have walked until I thought I could walk no more. I have wondered, more times than I can count, if my friends or I would live to see a new day. Those were the times I thought God had grown tired of us.

In some ways, my story is like those of tens of thousands of boys who lost their homes, their families, and in many cases their lives in a civil war between north and south that raged in Sudan from 1983 to 2005. In some ways, I represent the nearly 4,000 Sudanese refugees who found haven in the United States. But in other ways, my story is my own. I have a job, an apartment, a new family, and a wonderful new country to call home. I am studying public policy and world affairs at a university, and I plan to use my education to make life better in Africa and in America. I know I have been blessed and that I have been kept alive for a purpose.

They call me a Lost Boy, but let me assure you, God has found me.


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