Thursday, December 2, 2010

What is the What, Quotes (2)

In his apartment in Atlanta, Achak Deng is being robbed.  After, when the robbers leave a little boy in charge of making sure Achack doesn't escape, Achak attempts to talk and reason with the boy.  The boy, Michael, who Acahk calls "TV Boy" because he's watching TV, begins to rearrange some furniture.


He first pushes the coffee table closer to the entertainment center, reducing the space between the three objects: me, the table, and the shelving.  Now he drags a chair from the kitchen.  He places this near my head.  From the couch he brings one of the three large cushions that sit upright.  He stands the cushion up against the seat of the chair.  Bringing anaother chair from the kitchen, he places it, with a couch cushion soon resting against it, at my feet.  He has effectively eliminated me from his view.  My view is now limited to the ceiling above me, and the little I can see between the windows of the coffee table.  I lie, finding myself impressed with this architectural vision, until he surprises me with the blanket.  The bedspread from my room is carefully spread over the couch cushions until it forms a tent over me, and this is too much.  Michael, I have little patience left for you.  I am finished with you, and wish you could have seen what I saw.  Be grateful, TV Boy.  Have respect.  Have you seen the beginning of a war?  Picture your neighborhood, and now see the women screaming, the babies tossed into wells.  Watch your brothers explode.  I want you there with me.

--  What is the What by Dave Eggers
Part 1, Chapter 7, Page 73


This paragraph gets me every time I read it.  Something about it gives me chills.  The way he speaks to people in his mind, as though he were actually speaking it out loud, is full of power.  He knows - more than TV Boy.  He understands - more than most of us.  He has seen things that we would never expect to see in the comfort of our homes.  This paragraph leads into the next part of Achak's story, which with every page becomes more and more amazing than before.

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