Shattered by Eric Walters: a Story of Role Models and Life-Time Lessons
Ian, the protagonist of the story, is a fifteen year old student from a well-off family. Working at “The Club” as a volunteer sounds like fun to him, he chose this community as his immersion project as a requirement to pass his civics class. Until he arrived at what turned out to be a soup kitchen for the homeless people located at the unsafe part of the city, he begun to feel distressed with his new surroundings. As he walked through the Shelby Park, he was almost mugged by the street people and was saved by another homeless man.
When Sarge, his rescuer visited the soup kitchen, Ian had become acquainted with him and found out that Sarge’s real name is Jacques and he was a soldier in the Canadian Armed Forces. He shared with Ian, his experience as a peacekeeper in Rwanda, Africa where Ian knows little about. With this newly gained knowledge not only about Rwanda but about the world, Ian begun to develop a deeper sense of meaning of life and humanity. The theme of Eric Walter’s novel, Shattered revolves around role model. Sarge is the role model of Ian in the story and of the readers as well.
Ian, being a teenager who knows little about the real world, became vulnerable, innocent and had experienced “culture shock” from his surroundings. Sarge saved him not just from the violence of some homeless people but had also taught him to open his mind and heart to reality of life. Ian, on the other hand, is also a role model himself. With his being broad –minded and good judgment, he was been able to adopt to his troubled environment, made realizations and learned lessons not all teens like him get the chance to learned about.
Ian’s character of being street-smart and sensitive to other people, are those that the youth must have learned, a valuable lessons that kids can be learned more outside the school. He began to change his selfish attitude into being more sensitive and compassionate towards others especially to less fortunate people. His witty initiative of making research for something he knows nothing about is one of the evidence of Ian’s smartness. When Ian first met Jacques, he said: “That wasn’t how I was expecting a street person to be. ”
Jacques responded to Ian: “We’re all basically the same. Think how little difference there is between any of us. (Dallaire) The realization, Jacques have shared to us is that, we are all the same, we are all have feelings and struggles, and those that are less fortunate should not be judged based on their socioeconomic status. Everyone should have equal rights to justice, freedom and life’s happiness. During a discussion in Ian’s civics class, Mrs. Watkins shared some important truth about society: “in our society, people who are homeless or mentally ill are treated as if they are literally worth less than everyone else” (Dallaire) – this injustice and discrimination should be abolished from the society.
Jacques told Ian “as long as they don’t see us they can pretend we don’t exist. ” (Dallaire) Those people who are broad-minded, compassionate and sensitive of other people’s wellbeing, are those that are enlightened. Ian is troubled by his nightmares of Sarge’s tale about Rwanda. He doubts if he was a better person before, when he was ignorant of all the terrible things and the reality of life. “It wasn’t like knowing changed anything,” he says. “It didn’t make anything better for anybody else. It just made it worse for me. ” (Dallaire) – The sweet innocent conscience of a child that older people should have to reflect.
The underlying theme of many of my books is about a sense of belonging,” Walters once made a comment, “and about how you sometimes have to work to get to that place. ” (Answers. com, 2007) Eric Walters should be honored for his excellent work of capturing the teen readers’ attention and sharing these lessons of life-changing experiences whose goal is to shape the teens’ world convictions. Shattered reflects one of the most terrible events at some time in history. A real time stories the teens, as well as older people should reflect about. Along with other Walter’s award-winning novels, he continues to influence the minds of his readers.