(Shattered Novel by Eric Walters)
Sarge deals with post-traumatic stress disorder due to his memories in the Rwandan genocide. He is a very sheltered character and Jacques doesn't seem to reveal much about his memories- as it is common to want to neglect and forget about such tragedy in Rwanda. This tragedy led to the divorce of him and his wife. He is now a struggling homeless man who faces the awful memories of his time in Rwanda.
Sarge meets a boy called Ian at the park. Sarge notices Ian walking alone in the park and being tossed around by thugs trying to interrogate him and take his belongings and Sarge gets involved. Sarge bravely defends and saves Ian with a steel bar and fights to scares the thugs away. Sarge meets this boy Ian, later at the local soup kitchen he eats at. Ian volunteers, cleans and serves at the soup kitchen for volunteer hours for his high school civics class. Ian becomes interested in Sarge as Ian is working on a civics class assignment to interview somebody involved in the military. During the interview Ian learns Sarge was in the military for almost 24 years moving around a lot and leaving friends and family. Sarge was assigned peace keeping missions that took place in the Rwanda genocide in Africa. During this mission in Rwanda Sarge witnessed many injured people, suffering people and people begging for life. Begging for his help, Sarge helped many escape to safety, suppressed by memories of blood in his hands. Arms and different limbs scattered across dirt roads. Lifeless lives. Sarge tells Ian that he can hear about it and read about it all he wants, but Sarge himself has seen it himself- Sarge lived through it.
Sarge is still faced with conflict within himself, the things that he did see that he cannot un-see, he is forced to see. Sarge is forced with flashbacks, withdraws of memory from his peace keeping, and helping civilians reach safety. Sarge carries regret. He feels resent against himself, Sarge states he feels that he tried and he failed the people. Not seeing past 800, 000 dead bodies. Witnessing innocent people violently attacked with machetes, rivers being clogged with piles of bodies and detached limbs. When Sarge is diagnosed with PTSD and is left with a medical discharge he believes that means not being able to be a soldier anymore, somebody strong a brave and able.
Ian is a huge impact on Sarge. Ian questions Sarge's position, almost questioning Sarges worth. Ian tells sarge he doesn't understand how if every life is important, that he can possibly save, why isn't his life important too? Sarge believes it is over for him. Ian tells Sarge a story about a man who has come across millions of starfish dying on the beach, without water. This man is sighted with a young boy about ten years old, tossing each dried starfish back into the ocean water. The boy was saving each star fish, knowingly that he was saving a life at a time, rather than let millions suffer. The boy wanted to make a difference for as many as he could. -Sarge had no expression and stayed silent after this. I think this story made him realize his actions saving lives and acts of war during the Rwanda genocide have impacted and made a difference for many others as he protected many innocent lives. Ian exclaims to him not to forget those tragic memories, but to not let Rwanda claim another victim and not let this tragedy affect him negatively. Ian hopes Sarge sees the great and brave Sarge that he sees too. Ian thanks Sarge for his acts of bravery. Ian thanks Sarge for what he tried and did too during his time in Rwanda.
Knowing Ian has hopefully opened Sarges eyes. Sarge has said and realized his stage of being at the bottom- and how hard it is to pull himself from that position. The longing feeling of being stuck, lead to his homelessness and living in the park. Alcohol abuse was a habit of Sarges, drinking helped assumed due to his PTSD, in hopes to block or ease his thoughts temporarily. Ian hopes to make an impact on Sarge and thanking him of his duty, something Sarge most likely was not told enough to believe himself. Now that Sarge has come to this realization of being at the bottom and he realizes his negligent behavior toward himself.