This is a full book report for the novel Of Beetles and Angels by Mawi Asgedom.
To be suddenly traumatized by racial discrimination, language barriers, economic hardships, and just plain confusion over a new culture and to be told to treat intolerant people equal isn’t as easy as walk in the park as Mawi Asgedom describes in his novel Of Beetles and Angels. This novel fits every aspect of all culture novels; Mawi goes from Ethiopia, Sudan, then to a small apartment in Wheaton Illinois, a Chicago suburb. In all those places he was faced with issues that either made his family leave or just want to leave. Mawi’s adventure started in Ethiopia where even though, his father being well respected, was forced to leave due to war practically just outside their front door every day. Not having much options the family of five went to Sudan for three years where they lived in a refugee camp. After applying for relocation to the United States, Mawi and his family were helped by the World Relief Organization, a Christian group that helps people from every corner of the world to resettle in America. Mawi goes through racial discrimination in America and goes through some mischievous things but still remembers his dream to go to Harvard and the hard work he knows it’s going to take to get there. Through many, many disadvantages in his young life, Mawi eventually does get a full scholarship to Harvard on his happiest day of his life. After death, extremely hard studying, and other tribulations, Mawi fulfills his dreams in a truly inspiring and motivating book for people of all ages.
Being an auto biography the protagonist himself tells the story in a first person point of view. First person point of view is the point of view in which the reader knows the thoughts, ideas, and feelings of the speaker and only can know actions of other supporting characters. To easily distinguish first person point of view the reader will see words such as “I”, “me”, “my”, “our”, “we” and so on. This story was very well written and said in the first person point of view. Mawi Asgedom being the protagonist and the person in the center of all the feelings it is crucial to know his thoughts, feelings, and ideas as the reader does as he explains his heartwarming story. The reader should have no reason to think Mawi is an unreliable narrator, he seems to be very competent, intelligent and not too overwhelmed by emotions such as his mother was throughout the story.
The story takes place in three countries Ethiopia, Sudan, and the United States; the time period it takes place in is from 1980 to 1999. Setting is extremely important information for a reader because it helps the reader understand actions, thoughts, ideas, and feeling characters have. Setting can also help with the just general understanding of a story, as well. Knowing the time period for this novel is especially important for the reader because the reader has to understand that there was wars going on in Ethiopia and Sudan at the time. “ A small dusty village of straw-and-mud adobe homes” Is how Mawi describes the area he lived in in Sudan on the first page of the novel. So living conditions already aren’t the greatest and at the time Sudan was going through a civil war in the south and after failed political and economic investments in the 70’s , they’re going through a deep valley of economic crisis. World Relief were angels at this time for the Asgedom family and relocated them to Wheaton, Illinois of America. The living conditions in Wheaton were better than the families conditions in Sudan but still not great. They lived in hotel that Mr. Asgedom didn’t want to leave in fear of being attacked out of racial intolerance. The family lived on welfare which is an accurate description of the lack of money the family had. Mawi’s father struggled to find jobs and was very strict making conditions a bit harder for Mawi. The mood of this novel is hopeful. The reader can assume after going through many hardships and pulling himself out of them, Mawi and his family can endure anything to get they’re dreams. This leaves the reader feeling hopeful throughout the story for Mawi and the rest of the Asgedom family. Even after Tewolde’s death by drunk drivers the reader feels hopeful still for Mawi Asgedom. The story gives realization to the reader that they can be hopeful, as well, at any time in their lives as they were for Mawi during his life story.
Characters in books can always set examples for the reader and sometimes they can be respectable examples and sometimes not so respectable. Mawi Asgedom is a very, very determined young African male who fills his dream through hope and belief. Mawi can be considered as a round and a flat character. The reader can find Mawi to be round because of ho in the beginning of the novel he was young and didn’t have much understanding of the world and by the end of the novel he plowed through almost all problems life can possible throw at you and he succeeded in meeting his dreams of getting a scholarship to Harvard University. Intelligent, successful, hardworking, battered, and strong-minded are all great words to accurately depict the character traits Mawi expresses in this novel. Mawi’s father was very strict in America probably from being new and not used to the culture. Mawi’s brother Tewolde was his best friend in the story as they damage properties, steal, and go through school. Mawi’s mom and sister don’t play much of any roles in the novel possibly due to a more housewife type culture from Ethiopia. Mawi’s experimental and curious trait led himself and his brother to some minor trouble growing up. Such as when the two stole candy or when they destroyed street signs, getting their father in trouble. The families economic situation really was the main cause of Mawi’s troubles no one person or animal can be blamed for the majority of his tribulations. Mawi’s motive in his story was to prove that he could be successful and go to Harvard to the general public or possibly to his readers of his soon to come books. He wanted to put hope in other people’s eyes with his hard work and or help people gifted with wealth and better opportunities to see the other poverty stricken walk of life. The story is filled with mostly flat characters the only pronounced round character is Mawi, other supporting characters could really go either way. However, that raises the level of how much of a determined person Mawi was. The reader can see that even though people around Mawi didn’t change and weren’t determined he still pulled through and proved to those people that they should’ve had hope and that things can get done from even the deep hole that he grew up in.
Mawi was confronted with an extreme amount of conflicts and that’s what makes this story and many other stories as inspiring as they are because without conflict there is no story. Conflict is the problems the protagonist has against other people, things, the world, economic problems and issues, and him or herself that slow them down to their goals. First Mawi is confronted with war at a very early age and is forced to move from Ethiopia to Sudan and from Sudan to “Amerikha” as they called the United States. Once in the United States he runs in to poverty, racial discrimination, and problems at school and around school. There may not be so much of a central conflict in this story as much as there is dozens of small conflicts that Mawi goes through. The death of Tewolde was a large conflict being the first death of a loved one Mawi has gone through. However this large emotional setback only motivated Mawi more to get to Harvard. At first the conflicts in the story were minor setbacks and were quite frustrating for the reader and most likely for Mawi. Even as the story progressed and the conflicts seemed to get worse and worse, however, they almost more like adventurous and interesting because the reader begins to think and believe that Mawi can endure any problems he comes across. Throughout the rising action the reader doesn’t feel tension as much as frustration.
The theme in a story is the author’s commentary on human nature or human beings and their predicaments in a diverse world. In Of Beetles and Angels the theme is, how people can be thrown at things in life and manage through them in tough times such as Mawi did. Also that how people will go through hard times and it won’t be easy and some people will have harder times than others but it is almost always possible to get through it. The climax of the story when Tewolde gets killed is a great example of how yea Mawi was hit hard emotionally but he still pulled through and exceeded his dreams. Mawi throughout the story was dynamic and definitely expressed the theme. Mawi more matured than changed, however and that is because of the theme of the novel and the conflicts he went through. The author Mawi, wants the readers to know that they can do whatever he did because everything’s possible. He wants the reader to know that even from as tough conditions like he came from you can still do whatever you want.
Everything in this novel including characters, plot, setting and everything else was so well put together that its impossible to choose my favorite part. I wouldn’t be able to change this story considering its nonfiction. This book really helped me realize how I could do anything I want and so can everybody else, because nobody could’ve come from worse conditions than Mawi did. This novel really gave me true inspiration. Everything about this book is great and a reason to read it especially the plot and the characters that you can get to know and relate to that go through the hardships in the story. Id rate this novel an eight out of ten. It was a wonderful heartwarming story that drew me in and I really couldn’t put it down once I got through about halfway in the story. I found the beginning of the book to be a bit of a drag and not action packed but I think that of a lot of books so that doesn’t mean much.. I’d recommend this book to anybody of any age because there is characters that people of all walks of life can most likely relate to. I hope many people read this book and can get inspired from it such as I did.