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The Sun in My Eyes (Short Story)

Allied forces are involved in many military operations in different countries around the world. To some it might be an opportunity for some action and adventure, others are dedicated to the mission and feel they contribute to peace and democracy in the world.

A US soldier looks from a roof top during a mission
  1. What do you think it is like to join these forces, and fight in a distant country for a cause you may not even identify with?
  2. The soldiers go through intensive training before they leave, simulating all sorts of situations. But how can you be prepared for the unexpected?

The Sun in My Eyes – plain text

Comprehension

  1. Where do you think this story takes place? Give reasons for your answer.
  2. What does the Captain mean by saying “to satisfy the wolves out there”?
  3. What were the narrator’s reactions to what happened?
  4. What did he think of the help he was offered?
  5. What were his "demons"?
  6. At the end he speaks of an alternative. What do you think that might be?

Literary analysis

  1. What do you see as the turning point of the story?
  2. Describe the setting.
  3. What do you think is the theme of the story?
  4. Discuss symbolic elements.
  5. Comment on the title of the story.

Vocabulary

Find the expressions / words that are used in the text with the following meanings:

  1. Someone who fires his gun quite easily
  2. On the loose, free to walk about
  3. A bait
  4. Classified information about military activity
  5. Recordings on film
  6. Pretending for training
  7. Salvation
Key
  1. Trigger-happy cowboy
  2. At large
  3. Decoy
  4. Intelligence
  5. Footage
  6. Simulating
  7. Redemption

Discussion

  1. Give some examples of external intervention in internal conflicts, and discuss the effect the interference had on the outcome of the conflict.
  2. What motives do you think young people have who sign up for missions in a foreign country?
  3. What is meant by "post-war trauma"? Search the net and find examples, facts and figures.
  4. When western forces have intervened in internal conflicts (e.g. Iraq and Afghanistan) it is usually to contribute to establish what we could call a western concept of democracy. In what way can that be problematic?

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