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Sympathy for the "Bad Guy"
"Miro, The Terrorist With a Conscience"
In this student-written piece, Haddie Bratwaite reflects on the character of Miro, in After the First Death. Specifically, she explores the sympathetic side of his nature that exists in contrast to his acts as a terrorist. Beginning with a look at his early life, Bratwaite argues that survival instincts shape Miro's nascent identity - that his desire to belong supersedes the better part of his nature. She cites his 'mask wearing' as a sign of his need to distance himself from his terrorist identity. She also discusses Miro's complicated relationship with Kate - which tap into his repressed sexual identity. The division in Miro's personality comes to a head when he decides to kill Kate in an effort to truly and finally belong. Her death cements his identity as a terrorist.
"Journeys into Terror"
In this article, Mary Shaner explores two pieces - Robert Cormier's After the First Death and Peter Dickinson's The Seventh Raven. Both novels look closely at the plight of children as victims of terrorist attacks. Both books also look more deeply at teenage protagonists who are under pressure from their elders to act in a specific way. Bravery also comes into play - both perceptions of bravery and the need to be brave. Both novels offer a portrayal of terrorists as people, and both offer sympathetic characters. A central theme, shared by both books, is that of integrity, which sometimes comes at the cost of humanity.
Janet Reitman's, Rolling Stone piece (March 25, 2015) "The Children of ISIS" explores the allure of extremist choices for some American teens.
"Girl interrupted: How Patty Hearst's kidnapping reflected and ravaged American culture in the 1970s" by Caitlin Flanagan, in The Atlantic, September 2008 addresses public sentiment around the image of a victim versus a criminal.