Red Midnight Journal

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Red Midnight Written by Ben Mikaelsen – Historical Fiction Novel – Journal Entry #1: The book Red Midnight by Ben Mikaelsen is set in Guatemala during May of 1981. The story starts by giving a detailed account of twelve-year-old Santiago Cruz’s escape from the genocide of his village during the Guatemalan civil war. His village is named Dos Vías, which translates to ‘two roads’ in English. Santiago saves, out of his whole family, only his four-year-old sister from being killed. He travels to his uncle Ramos’s house to receive further care and instruction. My first reaction is surprise at the events taking place, and how a boy only twelve years of age must endure these hardships. Journal Entry #2: Santiago is given a compass and a map, and is taught how to use a canoe by his uncle. Santiago is then instructed to sail to the United States, because the soldiers would arrive there soon to burn their house. He is told to sail first to the city of Fronteras, next to a lake named El Golfete, then to a river named the Río Dulce. This will get him to the Carribean Sea. Santiago’s uncle tells him to follow the North Star, and he will reach the United States, specifically the state of Florida. He is told the dangers of sailing, such as pirates, sharks, and the hot sun. I am still in slight disbelief at the fact of a twelve year old trying to accomplish these feats. Journal Entry #3: That night, the soldiers are seen to be coming. Santiago is instructed to go and follow his uncle’s directions, and takes his sister with him. Santiago rides a horse as far as possible, then hitches a ride on the back of a maize truck for the rest of the distance. He reaches the canoe, sets the sail, and starts off to the United States. Santiago describes most of his experience as extremely lonely. He is coming out of shock, and realizes the tragedy he has

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