The Guerrilla Season Book Blog

Join 8th grade American History students at South Valley Jr High in Liberty, Missouri as they read Guerrilla Season by Pat Hughes. For more information contact Eric Langhorst at

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Week 1 - Question #1 - Choosing Sides

In the beginning of the novel we discover quickly that life in Missouri in 1863 was uneasy. When someone came to your door you didn't know what you should say if they asked whether you supported the Federal troops or the guerillas with Quantrill. The wrong answer could get the men of the house killed and your place burned to the ground. Matt and his family really tried to walk a fine line between the two sides and not support either in public.

Have you ever had a time in your life when you had to be careful not to take sides - when making a stand in public or with your friends for one side or the other of an issue may get you in trouble so you just sort of tried to avoid the issue? Give an example of a time you had to not say which side you may or may not support.

Please remember to use correct grammar when making a comment and post only using "anonymous" or by using your first name only.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was in third grade, I had two best friends. They would always fight over one thing or another, and they would often ask for my opinion. I had to always be careful of how I answered as to not take a side of one or another, because the other one might get mad. It was a pretty tough situation.

-MC The Pink Penguin

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My dad and brother fight a lot, especially since my brother is seventeen. It's always about silly stuff, like doing homework, or borrowing the nicer car, something like that. I always want to take sides, but I have to be really careful what I say because I don't want to get in trouble with either of them. It's always hard because most of the time one of them is completely wrong. For example, say I saw my brother reading a novel for school, but my dad doesn't believe that he actually did hi homework before 8:00 p.m.

~Candy Apple

8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Miller Creek: Matthew the Spectacular

Long, long ago, when I was young....

It was a few years ago, in 6th grade- I had a teacher who everyone else didn't like. At first, I felt the same way. Over time, though, I started aknowledging that this teacher had a unique way of teaching. I like it - it was different, but in a good way.

No one else felt the way I did about that teacher. Whenever anyone talked trash about that persn, I would remain silent. I didn't want to argue with them, but i didn't want to agree with them either.

(Note to Matthew: The blog authors re-posted this comment because it was originally sent to the wrong thread.)

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Pat Hughes said...

I really like these answers so far ... you all see how difficult it is to try to be diplomatic in such situations, and I think you'll be able to sympathize with Matt as he finds himself caught in the middle in a potentially deadly situation.

What was really messed up in Civil War Missouri was that you could get yourself in serious trouble, or killed, if you DID take sides ... or if you DIDN'T take sides. It was just impossible for people to know what to do.

8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lot of times my friends get in arguments and I think that both sides are really dumb. If the argument last a long time i will usually just chose the side that makes the most sense and i will try to end the fight.

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've had to be quite and not take a side one year at my birthday party because my friends all got mad at each other, and I knew that if I did manage to take a side then one of my best friends would be mad at me, and I really don't like friends being mad at me. Especially on my birthday. I was able to not pick sides by going back and forth trying to resolve the issue without saying who I agree with. Just letting them talk it out seemed to work a lot better!

8:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I ever had to chose sides I would go with the side that I was doing the right thing for the right cause. I enjoy how you added that Ben is a loud mouth about which side he's on. Poor Matt.


9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I've had a time in my life when I've had to take sides. It was when two groups of my friends got into a fight and if I took a side, I could lose friends. So I kind of shrugged off the question when they asked me and waited for the issue to blow over.

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes when I get in a fight I will be careful to what I say so i don't get fully involved.

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once two of my friends got in a huge fight and I was like the messanger. They soon made me chose sides and I couldnt cause I didnt want to make any one mad.

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, i had a choice to either be put into a foster home or live with these people I didn't know. I was only six or seven so I wasn't sure. my brother was sent to live on his own because he was twenty-something. I wanted to go with him but the state wouldn't let him take me. I decieded to live with the people, but now i wish i hadn't.

11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, taking sides is a very hard thing for me. When I want to go over to a friends house deciding with friends house to go to is always hard. So either way when I finally choose a side, one of them have to get mad.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Victoria said...

Two of my very close friends were engaged in a huge argument for weeks over eachother's parents. Now that I think about it, it seems to be quite a petty subject, but it seemed like such a big deal a few years ago. I had to be careful not to voice my opinion as often and a strongly as I would have liked to because I didn't want them to be upset with me; I didn't want to add tension within another relationship on top of their issue.

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was in elementary school, sometimes we were able to make up our own teams for sports in PE. Often, two of my friends would want me to be on their team, and I knew that either way, one of the them would get mad at me, so instead, I would just start my own team so that one of them wouldn't get mad at me. Sometimes, we would even just all be on the same team instead of forming three different teams because it was fun to be together, but because we were all very competitive, that didn't always happen either.

~MC Concertmaster

11:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember i think it was in fourth grade i had to chose between my best friend's party and and new friend i a just met's party. I know that it doesnt sound like big thing now, but then it was really big. I was so scared that I ended up not goin to either.

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having such stong, opinionated friends, I have to choose my words carefully whenever I want to add my own insight to a conversation. Let's say for example we just came out of watching what I would call a good movie. My friend, however may disagree. I'd rather not start an argument or even fight, so I must keep my thoughts to myself.

9:57 PM  
Anonymous Pat Hughes said...

These are all great comments. One of the things that's interesting is that many people say they ended up deciding not to choose a side because making a choice would have been too difficult. (And that was poignant about the person who said they couldn't decide which birthday party to go to, so they didn't go to either one.)

Several people used phrases such as "I decided to keep my mouth shut" -- which is very much what Matt is trying to do. Jesse, of course, is a lot more vocal about his preferences!

Keep in mind that in Civil War Missouri, people often did not have the option of saying "I choose not to choose." They were forced to choose - and the wrong answer could have meant death.

Then again, there were in Missouri times when people ended up coming to the conclusion that they had made the wrong choice at a difficult time. This reminds me of the person above who had to choose which foster family to live with. To that "anonymous," I just want to say I hope your situation is better now and I'm sorry you had to make that difficult personal decision at such a young age. And if you are still having difficulties at home, I hope you'll talk about it with a school counselor or teacher that you trust.

blogging at 6 am because daylight savings time woke me up too soon!

5:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some times i have troubles taking sides...When my friend gets a Boyfried and she thinks that she should break up with him..she asks me what i should do..I mostly don't tell her what to do because i think that she should be able to make her own choices. It makes her really mad sometimes but ya know..thats life

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When my friends gets a boyfriend...and she is debating wether or not she wants to break up with him...she will ask me what i would do if i was her. I normally don't state my opinion becuase i think that she should make her own choices. She gets mad but i think that it's for the good, so she will learn from her mistakes instead of having someone tell her what to do her whole life. Yeah, it stinks because sometimes she gets mad at me, but i think she needs to do it on her own!

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have never cared to much about the politics and such, but I have always noticed that when it came to the time to vote my parents were not public about who they were voting for. Just like Matts family they don't let everyone know who they support.

5:37 PM  

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