A Long Way Gone

The Memoir of Ishmael Beah as Depicted In His Book, A Long Way Gone

November 2, 2020 by Essay Writer

In A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah, Beah shares his harrowing experience as a child growing up in Sierra Leone. He triumphs through many changes and obstacles throughout his book. The most notable of which is how he goes from child soldier back to a functioning person in society.

At the beginning of the book Beah talks about his simple uninterrupted life as a child growing up in Sierra Leone. “On the morning that we left for Mattru Jong, we loaded our backpacks with notebooks of lyrics we were working on and stuffed our pockets with cassettes of rap albums.” This shows how simple and innocent he was before the world he knew caught fire and burned down in front of him. He later says “Whenever I get a chance to observe the moon now, I still see those same images I saw when I was six, and it pleases me to know that that part of my childhood is still embedded in me.” This is by far the most important quote from the book. It shows that through everything he had been through, all the hardships he’s lived though he realizes that he was robbed of his childhood experiences.

Towards the middle of the book Beah bounces between refuges (ruined villages or areas) and is instituted by the government’s army. It is at this point in his story that he starts to fall apart and become ensnared by the war against the rebels. Many horrible things happen to him at this stage of is woeful tale. One of those moments which stands out to me is when he writes “His Adam’s apple made way for the sharp knife, and I turned the bandit on zigzag edge as I brought it out. His eyes rolled up and they looked me straight in the eye before they suddenly stopped in a frightful glance, as if caught by surprise.”(Pg.125) He killed a man at 12 years old. If that’s not the definition of fucked up I don’t know what is. He also says at one point “We had been fighting for over two years, and killing had become a daily activity. I felt pity for no one. My childhood had gone by without my knowing, and it seems as if my heart had frozen.“(Pg.126) Killing has become a routine thing for Beah at this point. He has become brainwashed into thinking that doing this was normal and right when in fact the opposite was true.

At the end of the book Beah is rehabilitated at a hospital and later becomes a spokesman for UNICEF. At the beginning he says “That night, as I sat on the verandah listening to some of the boys discuss the volleyball game I had missed, I tried to think about my childhood days, but it was impossible, as I began getting flashbacks of the first time I slit a man’s throat. The scene kept surfacing in my memory like lightning on a dark rainy night.” (Pg.160) This goes to show that he is haunted by his past actions. He also writes “Leslie had told me that I was to be “repatriated” and reinstated into normal society.” (Pg. 178) This shows that he was successful in trying to adapt to a normal life.

The most incredible thing about Beah’s story is how he bounces back into civil society even after all he has been through. He did drugs, killed people and was shot. Now he seeks to help people in positions similar to his own when he was growing up. He seeks to help the world become a better place. That’s admirable in my book. Even if the events weren’t 100% accurate it still gets the message across.

Read more

Analysis of a Long Way Gone, a Memoir of Ishmael Beah

November 2, 2020 by Essay Writer

A Long Way Gone is the memoir of a child soldier, 12-year-old Ishmael Beah, who is forced to go to war in Sierra Leone. His village is attacked while he and his brother, Junior, and friends are away at a talent show. After the attack they resort to going from village to village in search of food and shelter and thrive on stealing from others to survive. They seek refuge at a village called Mattru Jong and reside there until a rebel army comes in and raids the village. The boys flee, only to be struck by hunger and hopelessness. They decide to make the dangerous journey back into their village to collect their money and belongings, even though the rebel army is still in the village. The boys broke up into groups in order to stay hidden. On the way out of the village one of the boys get stuck behind and discovered by the rebels. This is when the group begins to break apart.

They eventually are taken into a village controlled by the government army. They manage to escape and go to a village called Kamator, where they stay for about a month. They are offered food and shelter if they acted as guards for the village. Soon enough, the rebels also attack Kamator. Ishmael loses his brother in the midst of all the confusion, but is reunited with his friend Kaloko. They try to find their family and friends but are unsuccessful. Ishmael decides to leave the village in search of somewhere safe. Kaloko decides to stay behind, and Ishmael goes on his journey alone.

Ishmael wanders through the forest, forced to drink stream water and live off of nearly nothing. He meets a group of boys after a month of solitude and decides to stay with them. On their journey, they are taken into a village controlled by the Sierra Leone army. There, they are forced to become soldiers for the army in exchange for food, water, and shelter. Once they become soldiers for the army, they are forced to commit crimes and take numerous, harmful drugs such as cocaine. Under control of Lieutenant Jabrati, he and the other children raid, loot, and murder. They are brainwashed into believing their actions are right, and are trained to stop at nothing.

Ishmael and the boys in his unit continue to fight until one day a UNICEF truck comes into the village and Lieutenant Jabrati turns the boys over. They are offered food and clothes but are uncooperative due to their natural fighting nature. They cause havoc and are extremely violent toward their teachers, nurses, and supervisors. They seek to be respected and feared, and get frustrated at the UNICEF workers’ patience with them. Ishmael’s nightmares and migraines become nearly unbearable, while memories of his childhood as a soldier consume his thoughts. In this time, he becomes close with his unit nurse, Esther. She helps him overcome the pain and depression he is going through.

Half a year at the center has gone by, and UNICEF workers begin to plan Ishmael’s placement in a foster home. Ishmael mentions his uncle, Tommy. He has never met Tommy, but his father mentioned him before. Tommy is located and comes to the center to visit him and eventually Tommy goes home with him and starts a new life with his new family. After a while, Ishmael is visited by one of the workers at UNICEF. He is presented the opportunity to be interviewed to travel to New York to speak to the UN about his experience as a soldier. He meets with an interviewer who chooses Ishmael to be sent to the United States. He meets Laura Simms, a storyteller that helps him in New York. When it is time for him to leave, Laura gives him her address and phone number to stay in touch.

He returns to live with Tommy and violence begins again. Supplies begin to run low and Tommy dies of a fever. At this point, Ishmael has no other option but to escape from Sierra Leone. He calls Laura, who agrees to let him stay with her in America. He is able to cross the border to Guinea and makes his way to New York to live in his new home with Laura.

A Long Way Gone brought the horrible brainwashing that children endured at their time as soldiers to light. “Sometimes we were asked to leave for war in the middle of a movie. We would come back hours later after killing many people and continue the movie as if we had just returned from intermission. we were always either at the front lines, watching a war movie, or doing drugs. There was no time to be alone or to think.” (p. 124) This passage really stood out and described the severity of the child soldiers’ treatment.

This passage vividly described how children that were part of the civil war in Sierra Leone were brainwashed into believing war is supposed to be a normal part of everyday life. They were given drugs to numb their emotions and keep their feelings from preventing them from fighting. This passage really opened my eyes and made me realize just how lucky I am for everything I have. These children go through being drugged and brainwashed, which proves just how blessed I am to have food, shelter, water, and a family and friends that love me.

A Long Way Gone was one of the most influential books I have ever read. It really brought the struggle of the child soldiers in Sierra Leone to light. It helped me understand the severity of the situation, especially with the Kony 2012 campaign in effect. Kony 2012 is a campaign working against leaders in Africa who capture children and force them into becoming child soldiers. Reading A Long Way Gone has let me look into a child soldier’s life and see just how much help these children need.

I would definitely recommend this book to others. It kept me interested and always wanting to keep reading. The memoir style also provided an up close and personal look into the lives of child soldiers. I believe that everybody should read this book since the problem of civil war and rebel soldiers still exists. Ishmael’s haunting memories are extremely thought provoking, and they made me think about the extreme cultural differences between America and 3rd world countries where civil war is still an issue.

Read more

Discussion On Whether We Perpetuate The Stereotypes Of Africa By Reading A Long Way Gone By Ishmael Beah

November 2, 2020 by Essay Writer

Introduction

In this essay, I will be discussing the whether or not we perpetuate the stereotypes of Africa by reading ‘A long way gone’. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier (2007) is a memoir written by Ishmael Beah, an author from Sierra Leone. The book is a firsthand account of Beah’s time as a child soldier during the civil war in Sierra Leone (1990s). Ishmael Beah ran away from his village at the age of 12 after it was attacked by rebels, and he became forever separated from his immediate family. Later own his was forced him to join their army and brainwashed him into taking drugs and using guns. I believe that as a reader of this novel myself I have begun to acquire a prejudice of violence and hatred surrounding Africa which I know is not true. Racially stereotyping consists of constructed beliefs that all members of the same race share the same characteristics and lifestyle (usually meant negatively). I will be looking into both the benefits of A long way gone and the disadvantages.

I do not think that books, news articles etc. should always only focus on the poverty and the lower development of Africa because you can’t just base the whole of the diverse range of culture in Africa on a few stereotypes since this is what many people still believe Africa to be, a war zone, even though it has developed tremendously. I believe that to an extent A long way gone does perpetuate racial stereotypes because it does enforce negative stereotypes although this book could also be seen as an exception given this particular topic.

This book is written in the perspective of someone who has gone through this experience and I believe that it is his right, as a previous child soldier to be able to share it however he wants whether it is in a negative way or positive, and if it weren’t for books like ‘A long way gone’ nobody would be as informed about this situation. I also think that in some cases throughout the book Ishmael actually did the opposite of enforcing stereotypes of Africa as a whole, since his characters are all written with a lot of depth since it is from a perspective of someone who was present in the war and not someone who is influenced by racial shallow stereotypes to develop their characters.

With all that being said I also believe that certain audiences could view this book differently. Since some could think that this book only attempts to portray the negative side of Africa, it is giving out a view of Africa in a whole as a war zone where all the children are stolen from homes and either killed or turned into child soldiers. And the readers could also start to acquire a prejudice of violence and hatred surrounding Africa if they are not from there, been there or more informed since many stories that are told from Africa are about tragedies and not so much bliss. This is why I do not think that books, news articles etc. should always only focus on the poverty and the lower development of Africa because you can’t just base the whole of the diverse range of culture in Africa on a few stereotypes or else African stereotypes will never change and it will always just continue to be a low developed war zone with violence and disease which it is not since Africa is continuously developing and improving its economical and political status.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I believe that although ‘A long way Gone’ does perpetuate the stereotypical notions on Africa. I still feel that A Long Way Gone stands out from the rest of the books because of its author and his unique experiences. In a continent where journalistic interest appears disappointingly low, Ishmael Beah’s personal memoir is an important testament to the children who continue to be conscripted into armies and militias today.

Read more

Analysis Of Baeh And His Friends In A Long Way Gone

November 2, 2020 by Essay Writer

Baeh, his brother, and their friends escaped from rebel attack and finding places to hide themselves. Beah was thinking about his families whether will be able to see them again. All of them are too quiet and seem like everyone is thinking about their stuffs in the way to an abandoned village. They spend days wandering in searching substantial food, instead of just eating raw cassava or banana. They feel distraught with anxiety and vision blurred without food. Therefore, they had no choice and decide to return Mattru Jong to get some money to buy food.

They saw the terrifying scene when walking back to the town. They walk on the bodies, furniture or clothes that scattered on the verandah. Body part like genitals, limbs and hands had been chopped off by the rebels. Beah feel like vomiting and disgusting. They continue their way to Khalilou’s house fast but yet cautiously. They almost caught by the rebels, but lastly get to avoid from it. Rebels are escorting groups of young women to somewhere. When they arrive Khalilou’s house, the house was torn and there is no food in it. But luckily, Beah found some money and keeping inside his cape secretly.

They planned well to exit the town by crawling among the dead bodies carefully as there are rebels guarding at the wharf. Nearly everyone makes it safety, but someone fell out an aluminium tin and this may get the attention of the rebels. A boy that carrying a big bag of things caught by the rebels as he refuses to leave the bag and running away. They feel happy as they have money to buy some food. Going to the market, and realized that no one is selling food, due to saving it for worse conditions. The money is worthless. They went and stole other’s food while they slept to get through the night.

In my opinion, Baeh and his friends show that they are care about their family and wish to hear from them. The war is horror and terrible, but yet their hunger may be worse than that. I think that they are brave enough and willing to take risk of their life, in order to get some food even it is dangerous. They do not regret of what they had did, and just go for it. The rebels are brutal, as we can clearly see through the description of the scenario, that is bloody body scattered everywhere in Mattru Jong. Besides, the rebels treated the children and women badly as rebels ordered them to do things that they are unwilling to do it. Money is a miracle for them, as the rebels cannot compared to after money.

They seem understand the danger they are in, after they get the attention from the rebels. One of the boy couldn’t escaped from it, because he is to greedy and wish to take more, so he is killed at last by the rebels. In the state of war, money isn’t valuable. Beah couldn’t have right to blame anyone, because everyone has the same responsibility to deal with it. When human meet danger as in the situation in war, they will do something unexpected such as forced to theft other’s food or property in order to survive. This reaction illustrates their adaptability and survival skills. Things might change rapidly in a matter of seconds and no one had any control over anything. Therefore, we should appreciate everything we have and learn from the mistakes.

Read more

The Lack of Compassion and the Consequences of Forgiveness in Lord of the Flies and A Long Way Gone

November 2, 2020 by Essay Writer

Compassion through Rehabilitation

The boys stuck on the island in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies and Ishmael Beah himself in his book A Long Way Gone represent individuals that once had humanity, but got their humanity taken away due to disastrous circumstances. In Lord of the Flies, the boys have issues on who is in charge. Ralph, was the voted upon leader of the boys, but Jack does not share the same views as Raph, thus they end up fighting. Jack’s described by Golding as, “His face was crumpled and freckled, and ugly without silliness. Out of this face stared two light blue eyes, frustrated now, and turning, or ready to turn, to anger” (20). Piggy tries his best to keep everything set and in order, so everything can be peaceful and so that the “little uns” don’t get frightened. In A Long Way Gone, Ishmael Beah becomes dehumanized from joining the army to avenge the deaths of his family. Beah, after being severely affected by the horrors of the war, goes back to his old compassionate self after being rehabilitated at the Benin Home; thus challenging Golding’s hypothesis which states: evil exerts a stronger pull on human beings than good. Ishmael Beah’s regained compassion allows him to tell others about the happenings in Sierra Leone, contradicting the death of rules and order in Golding’s Lord of the Flies as well as the lack of humanity displayed in Ishmael’s war years.[1]

The boys from Lord of the Flies demonstrate their lack of compassion over time they by killing their only means of rules and order. Toward the end of the novel, when Jack had taken their only means of a signal fire, Piggy’s glasses, Piggy and Ralph and two other “big uns” go to ask for his glasses. [2] Jack d[3] isagrees; resulting in Ralph and Jack quarrelling; Piggy, on the other hand, holds the conch in his hand trying to stop Ralph and Jack. At the same time, Roger leaned his body weight against the lever which contained the rock. The narrator describes how “the monstrous red thing bounded” :

The rock struck Piggy a glancing blow from chin to knee; the conch exploded into a thousand white fragments and ceased to exist. Piggy, saying nothing, with no time for even a grunt, traveled through the air sideways from the rock, turning over as he went […] Piggy fell forty feet and landed on his back across the square red rock in the sea. His head opened and stuff came out and turned red. Piggy’s arms and legs twitched a little bit, like a pig’s after it has been killed. Then the sea breathed again in a long, slow sigh, the water boiled white and pink over the rock; and when it went, sucking back again, the bo[4] dy of Piggy was gone. (Golding 181)

Golding symbolizes the death of rules and order when he described the conch “exploding into a thousand pieces,” the narrator is pointing out how the boys tarnished their only forms of keeping everything in order: the conch, and Piggy. The conch was used to assemble all the boys attention in order to come to mutual understanding. Additionally, when Golding narrates, “the body of Piggy was gone,” it resembles the death of reason as well as rules and order. Golding goes on narrating, “Piggy’s arms and legs twitched a little bit, like a pig’s after it has been killed,” portraying Piggy’s unpopularity among the boys. Golding restates the boys lack of respect for Piggy thorough symbolism– “sucking back again, the body of Piggy was gone” – representing how invaluable Piggy was to the boys, when he was the person that held on to his humanity and tried to make the boys do the same. Piggy has been trying to make the rival groups of boys get along with the conch, but now that Piggy and the conch have been killed off, laws cease to exist; leaving the boys with no better reason to kill.[5]

Ishmael Beah in his book A Long Way Gone, turned his goals of avenging the death of his family into his daily reality of taking revenge on innocent individuals without reason. When Ishmael got recruited into the army he was frightened and nervous, but after his first battle with the “enemy”, the RUF, he felt comfortable holding his AK-47, and adjusted to the life of taking brown brown to not feel guilty for the death of innocents. Ishmael recollects how his heartless self would be on a daily basis[6] :

My squad was my family, my gun was my provider and protector, and my rule was to kill or be killed. The extent of my thoughts didn’t go much beyond that. We had been fighting for two years, and killing had become a daily activity. I felt no pity for anyone. My childhood had gone by without my knowing, and it seemed as if my heart had frozen. I knew that day and night came and went because of the presence of the moon and sun, but I had no idea whether it was a Sunday or a Friday[7] . (126)

Ishmael shares his mantra would be “kill or be killed,” representing his state of dehumanization at the time. In addition, Being a child soldier changed Ishmael’s mental state– “The extent of my thoughts didn’t go much beyond that” – proving he does not put thought into what he is doing. Ishmael is taking part in killing fearing all the guilt he would have to go through if he were to stop and think about what he had done. Ishmael goes on saying, “killing had become a daily activity. I felt no pity for anyone,” showing how Ishmael was so used to this daily routine that he didn’t want to stop and think because of all the risks that come along with it. Ishmael knew deep down that the people he was killing had loved ones who would be as sad as he was when his parents and brother had died. However, if he did think that who he was killing were told to avenge the death of their family, just like himself; he would have to face all the pain of guilt, loneliness, and betrayal as a result. Ishmael’s “heart had frozen” and he had “no idea whether it was a Sunday or a Friday[8] ,” emphasizing how Ishmael shut down part of his mind and emotions to even remember the date so he would not have to face the guilt. Ishmael was lacking the reason of thinking along with the boys in Lord of the Flies because they are both not willing to face the consequences of their actions to have compassion for humankind again.

Ishmael Beah in A Long Way Gone recognizes that the challenging situations he was placed in were not his fault, allowing him to have perseverance and hope for the future. Ishmael was given the opportunity to go to the UN Economic and Social Council in New York to share his experiences as a child soldier. At New York, Ishmael sees that life in New York was not the way he thought it was. At first he decided that he would not want to live in a country that was cold all the time, but after he started hearing people’s stories from different parts of the world he was intrigued, and admired them for their perseverance in challenging situations. Ishmael described how he regained his compassion and learned to have hope:

I am from Sierra Leone, and the problem that is affecting us children is the war that forces us to run away from our homes, lose our families, and aimlessly roam the forests. As a result, we get involved in the conflict as soldiers, carriers of loads, and in many other difficult tasks. All this is because of starvation, the loss of our families, and the need to feel safe and be a part of something when all else has broken down. I joined the army really because of the loss of my family and starvation. I wanted to avenge the deaths of my family. I also had to get some food to survive, and the only way to do that was to be part of the army. It was not easy being a soldier, but we just had to do it. I have been rehabilitated now, so don’t be afraid of me. I am not a soldier anymore; I am a child. We are all brothers and sisters. What I have learned from my experiences is that revenge is not good. I joined the army to avenge the deaths of my family and to survive, but I’ve come to learn that if I am going to take revenge, in that process I will kill another person whose family will want revenge; then revenge and revenge and revenge will never come to an end. (199)

Ishmael says “We get involved in conflict”, Ishmael’s demonstrating his understanding of forgiveness. Esther, the nurse that would talk to him at the Benin Home, his uncle, and the others who work at the Benin Home constantly told Ishmael that it was not his fault, Ishmael was able to go through the path of forgiving himself. Further on, Ishmael explained his innocence, “All this is because of starvation, the loss of our families, and the need to feel safe and be a part of something when all else has broken down,” further showing that he forgave himself. In Addition, Ishmael proves he found himself: “I am not a soldier anymore; I am a child,” admitting that while he was in the army he considered himself a soldier. Before the war, he considered himself a child because he had not gone through the horrid challenges of war. When Ishmael was forced to face these adult challenges at a young age, but went through the risks of forgiving himself, demonstrate his rehabilitation has allowed him to regain some of his childhood back and thus become the compassionate person he used to be. When Ishmael narrates, “revenge and revenge will never come to an end,” now Ishmael has completely understood the cycle of revenge and learned a major life’s lesson. Ishmael now knows better than to get revenge because of his experience as a child soldier; this knowledge will help him become a be the better person when dealing with relationships in his life. Ishmael’s speech is significant because it depicts how Ishmael has changed from his stay at the Benin Home. Furthermore, Ishmael’s regained compassion from his rehabilitation at the Benin Home made him want to share his story to others arounds the world; a sheer act of compassion. Ishmael Beah proves that it is possible to regain humanity after living through traumatizing moments, contradicting Golding’s hypothesis.

While Lord of the Flies and A Long Way Gone show individuals lacking reason blindly in order to face the risky consequences of forgiveness. Lord of the Flies does not have an aftermath unlike A Long Way Gone where a dehumanized Ishmael becomes rehabilitated. Ishmael demonstrates his understanding of revenge and understands to forgive himself in order to start the rehabilitation process. The lack of humanity from the boys in Lord of the Flies, and Ishmael’s horrors committed as a child soldier is outweighed by Ishmael’s moving speech in New York, and Golding hypothesis is contradicted because their is definitive proof of real life situations. Ishmael changes himself from the self-forgiveness and hope he gains from the people surrounding him. In Lord of the Flies, the boys killed the only person who displayed compassion and that left them with no reason to kill the enemy. In A Long Way Gone, we see Ishmael traveling across the country to alarm others about child soldiers. We are left to believe that the compassion in A Long Way Gone is more impactful because Golding’s form of compassion died.

Read more

Critical Reflection On A Long Way Gone By Ishmael Beah

November 2, 2020 by Essay Writer

The book “A Long Way Gone” is about a boy named Ishmael Beah who lives in Sierra Leone. Ishmael Beah was born in 1980 and lived in a village with his mother, father, and two little brothers. In 1991, the Sierra Leone Civil War started. Rebels invaded Beah’s hometown, Mogbwemo, located in the Southern Province of Sierra Leone, and he was forced to flee. Separated from his family, he spent months wandering south with a group of other boys. At the age of 14, he was forced to become a child soldier. According to Beah’s account, he fought for almost three years before being rescued by UNICEF (The United Nations Children’s Fund). The main message that the author is trying to convey to the audience is that war and manipulation can turn innocence into evil.

When Ishmael was a little boy he lived in a village with his family. At ten years old his brother Junior taught him about hip-hop and they later started a dance group with his friends, Talloi and Khalilou. He spent his days going to school, performing in talent shows with his dance group, and listening to his cassette player. When refugees started to come to Ishmael’s village he was confused about the stories that happened to people. He thought that their stories were exaggerated and the only wars he knew where from books and movies such as Rambo: First Blood. “My imagination at ten years old didn’t have the capacity to grasp what had taken away the happiness of the refugees.”

When Ishmael was first touched by war he was 12 years old. He left home with Junior and friends, Talloi and Khalilou. They were walking to a village to perform at a talent show when their home was attacked by rebels. The group of boys had no home and no one to turn to, so they had no other choice than to continue moving and to get as far away from the rebels as possible. Over the next two years Ishmael was fleeing from village to village trying to survive. He was separated from Junior after an attack, only a few weeks after leaving home for the talent show. He encountered many attacks and near-death experiences over the years. Dead bodies littered every village and road that the rebels and government passed though. Innocent people were killed for no reason in front of him countless of times. He became numb to every experience and had nightmares. He was constantly scared and tired. He was eventually recruited by the government to become a soldier. All the boys in the army where around thirteen but some were as young as seven. The lieutenant and their superiors told the boys that the rebels had to be killed because they were the ones who killed the boys’ friends and family. The boys were praised after every kill they made and where given drugs to cope will their anxiety. Ishmael’s first battle was when he was no longer an innocent, scared boy and became angry and vengeful. “I have never been so afraid to go anywhere in my life as I was that day…I Lay there with my gun pointed in front of me, unable to shoot.” Ishmael saw all of the death around him and thought of his friends and family. He became so angry that he began shooting. “Every time I stopped to change magazines and saw my two lifeless friends, I angrily pointed my gun into the swamp and killed more people”

For the next three years he was fighting for the government. Killing became an everyday occurrence and Ishmael was proud of all the rebels he murdered. He was eventually rescued by UNICEF and learned how he was manipulated into becoming a soldier. He had migraines and bad nightmares from all the horrors he witnessed. At this safe haven, he was rehabilitated and was reunited with his uncle whom he had never met. Ishmael uncles and cousins help him through the trauma. Yet he was still broken. He later became a child activist, speaking at the United Nations. At 18 years old Ishmael fled Sierra Leone after Kabala (a city in Serra Leone) was attacked by the rebels. He feared to become a soldier once again and made the decision to leave his family in search of refuge.

Ishmael used many rhetorical strategies to help convey his message. One rhetorical strategy he used was by writing his book about his personal experience. Opposed to writing a book with facts and statistics about child soldiers the reader is listening to his story. This way the reader can understand what Ishmael was feeling and thinking in this environment. The reader can understand how terrible and sick this topic is by the detail given by Ishmael.

Another rhetorical strategy that Ishmael used were two themes, Warfare and Manipulation. Ishmaels was manipulated by the commanding officers, telling him to kill to avenge his family. He was then praised for his efforts with drugs and movies. Pretty soon, Ishmael is a killing machine. He became such a good solider that he was recruited as a junior lieutenant and lead his own attacks. He had no remorse for anyone and only wanted to get back at the rebels for the pain they have caused him. The other theme is warfare, this theme explains how communities disintegrate as people struggle to survive and protect their families. Ordinary men and women have to learn to kill. When Ishmael finally escapes the conflict, it’s clear that nothing has been accomplished.

No side has ‘won.’ And countless lives — including our author’s — have been destroyed in the process.

Last but not least another rhetorical strategy used is tone. The entire book has a very dignified and serious tone. Every single village that’s raided and each person who dies gets the sincere description they deserve. The book also gives us glimpses of many terrifying moments. The scary part is that they are mixed in with average day to day things. The terrors of war become another part of daily life.

The strengths in the book were Ishmael’s detail to what it was like living in a war zone and how his book is told from a child’s perspective. Ishmael describes living in a war zone by communicating all the violence he experienced. For example, “My face, my hands, my shirt, and gun were covered with blood. I raised my gun and pulled the trigger, and I killed a man.” This allows the reader to understand what he was going through and they can put themselves in his shoes. People in many countries do not know what it’s like to be living in this environment. The reader is shown how cruel people can be to one another. Another strength the book had is how it is told from a child’s point of view as opposed to many books where the protagonist is an adult. For example, “That night, as I sat on the verandah listening to some of the boys discuss the volleyball game I had missed, I tried to think about my childhood days, but it was impossible, as I began getting flashbacks of the first time I slit a man’s throat.” This is a great example of how Ishmael’s normal childhood experiences clash with the violence and trauma in his life. This is an interesting thing about the book because people want to know what a child’s war experience would be like.

There were weaknesses in the book as well. Ishmael did not explain what had happened to him once he left Sierra Leone. He said he left the country and illegally went to Conakry. He said he didn’t know what he would do there once he arrived. The audience wants to know what his life is like after he escaped the war. The book also had a confusing ending. Ishmael ended the book with a story that one of the elders from his village told. It was abrupt and didn’t wrap up the book well. He was trying to use symbolism with this childhood story but in my opinion, it was confusing and left me wanting more.

The book is overall an amazing reference to know what it’s like living in a war zone. It explains how people who do bad things aren’t necessarily bad people. You learn a lot about how people can change under stressful circumstances. Ishmael explains his main message well. The reader may wonder if he or she would make the kind of decisions the children made. This book will make the audience think about his or her character.

I think the book was amazing. This book will show the average reader that their lives could always be worse and to be grateful for what they have. Ishmael’s story makes the reader think of all the things they take for granted. It also shows the inderance and strength people have. Ishmael experienced a lot of trauma and had no immediate family to help him through his pain. Yet he still learned from his challenges and became a better person. I have never experienced war and never lost family or friends in my life. I put myself in Ishmael’s shoes and I can’t imagine how I would feel or what I would do if I was in that situation. Thinking about losing my sister the way Ishmael lost his brother brings tears to my eyes. I always thought that people were born good, but their experiences and how they handled them was what made them a good or a bad person. I think Ishmael would agree to this thought. Ishmael taught me that just because people do bad things doesn’t mean they are bad people. When you go through so much pain happiness seems so far out of reach it can be hard to see things the same way. People can always choose who they want to be and choose if they want to change.

Read more

An analysis of themes in Along Way Gone

November 2, 2020 by Essay Writer

In many parts of the world, child exploitation is an everyday activity that causes many children to be taken away from their families and friends. Child exploitation occurs mostly in areas such as Asia and Africa, but modern authors have described its horrors for readers on all continents. In the novel Sold by Patricia McCormick, a young, thirteen year-old girl named Lakshmi was sold into prostitution in India due to her lack of knowledge of the outside world. In the memoir A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah, Ishmael was a twelve year-old child soldier in Sierra Leone who killed RUF rebels and plundered villages. Both Ishmael and Lakshmi faced difficulties that forced them to adapt to their violent and abusive situation in order to survive. Therefore, a theme that sustains both of the novels is that learning to adapt is necessary for survival during times of violence and abuse.

Lakshmi learns to adapt to prostitution during her times of abuse because she wanted survive; she becomes a prostitute in order to pay off her debt and she had to sleep with a large number of men. When Lakshmi was washing herself with a bucket of water, she realizes that “no matter how often I wash and scrub and wash and scrub, I cannot seem to rinse the men from my body” (McCormick 129). Lakshmi’s body is filled with the odor of men and she realized that she is slowly adapting to prostitution for her own survival. The theme also describes Lakshmi’s adaptation into prostitution when she imagines her life as a TV remote control. At the Happiness House, Lakshmi “pretend[s] that what goes on at night when the customers are here is not something that is happening to me. I pretend it is a TV show that I am watching from far, far away. I pretend I have a button I press to make everything go quiet” (McCormick 157). Lakshmi is pretending her life is shown from a TV’s point of view in order to cope with the abuse she receives at the brothel. Lakshmi also adapted to the unsanitary brothel and Mumtaz’s cruel abuse. After living at the Happiness House for a long time, Lakshmi had “no longer notice[d] the smell of the indoor privy. And I long ago stopped feeling the blows of Mumtaz’s strap” (McCormick 153). Lakshmi’s senses of smell and touch had already adapted to the Mumtaz’s abuse and the brothel’s foul odor because she wanted to survive in the brothel. In essence, the theme of learning to adapt is necessary for survival during times of violence and abuse fits in for Lakshmi because she had to adapt to the abuses at the Happiness House.

In a similar manner, Ishmael Beah also had to learn to adapt to war violence and abuse because it was the only way he could survive. Ishmael had used drugs to order to adapt to the harsh life of being a child soldier. Ishmael had “took turns at the guarding posts around the village, smoking marijuana and sniffing brown brown… They gave me a lot of energy” (Beah 121). In order to adapt to times of war violence and abuse, Ishmael took drugs that gave him a large abundance of energy and deprived him of his feelings, which allowed Ishmael to kill enemies more easily. Ishmael also adapted to the killings of the rebels by imagining each rebel as the killer of his family. During the war, Ishmael visualize each rebels as “simply another rebel who was responsible for the death of my family, as I had come to truly believe” (Beah 125). Ishmael adapts to times of violence by imagining each of the rebels as a person who was responsible for his family’s death. Ishmael survived in the army mainly because he had adapted to the usage of guns for his own protection. The corporal had told Ishmael that “this gun is your source of power in these times. It will protect you all you need, if you know how to use it well” (Beah 124). Ishmael used guns to kill the RUF rebels, which allowed him to adapt to the war violence and survive against many enemies. Ultimately, the theme of learning to adapt is necessary for survival in times of violence is true for Ishmael because he adapted to drug usage and unemotional method of killings.

Sold and A Long Way Gone both articulate the theme that in order to survive, adaptation is required during times of violence and abuse. Lakshmi was sold into prostitution and she had to create methods to cope with her depression and emptiness so she could survive in the harsh adultery business. After many months at the brothel, Lakshmi’s body had already adapted to the smell of men and the brothel, along with Mumtaz’s cruel punishments. Ishmael adapted to violence and abuse by joining the Sierra Leone Armed Forces Army to fight against the RUF rebels, who were the main cause of his family’s death. Drugs were used to aid Ishmael to kill rebels more easily because it gave him a large abundance of energy as well as deprivation of emotions. Ishmael also practiced using guns and visualizing the rebels as people who were responsible for his family’s death in order to ensure his own survival and make killing rebels more impactful upon himself. Adaptation plays an important role to ensure the survival of a person during times of violence and abuse. People who do not adapt during times of violence and abuse will usually find themselves dead or nearly dead.

Work Cited

Beah, Ishmael. A Long Way Gone. New York: Sarah Crichton Books, 2007. 1-229. Print.
McCormick, Patricia. Sold. New York: Hyperion Books, 2006. 1-263. Print.

Read more

Thematic Analysis of A Long Way Gone and Sold

April 19, 2019 by Essay Writer

In many parts of the world, child exploitation is an everyday activity that causes many children to be taken away from their families and friends. Child exploitation occurs mostly in areas such as Asia and Africa, but modern authors have described its horrors for readers on all continents. In the novel Sold by Patricia McCormick, a young, thirteen year-old girl named Lakshmi was sold into prostitution in India due to her lack of knowledge of the outside world. In the memoir A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah, Ishmael was a twelve year-old child soldier in Sierra Leone who killed RUF rebels and plundered villages. Both Ishmael and Lakshmi faced difficulties that forced them to adapt to their violent and abusive situation in order to survive. Therefore, a theme that sustains both of the novels is that learning to adapt is necessary for survival during times of violence and abuse.

Lakshmi learns to adapt to prostitution during her times of abuse because she wanted survive; she becomes a prostitute in order to pay off her debt and she had to sleep with a large number of men. When Lakshmi was washing herself with a bucket of water, she realizes that “no matter how often I wash and scrub and wash and scrub, I cannot seem to rinse the men from my body” (McCormick 129). Lakshmi’s body is filled with the odor of men and she realized that she is slowly adapting to prostitution for her own survival. The theme also describes Lakshmi’s adaptation into prostitution when she imagines her life as a TV remote control. At the Happiness House, Lakshmi “pretend[s] that what goes on at night when the customers are here is not something that is happening to me. I pretend it is a TV show that I am watching from far, far away. I pretend I have a button I press to make everything go quiet” (McCormick 157). Lakshmi is pretending her life is shown from a TV’s point of view in order to cope with the abuse she receives at the brothel. Lakshmi also adapted to the unsanitary brothel and Mumtaz’s cruel abuse. After living at the Happiness House for a long time, Lakshmi had “no longer notice[d] the smell of the indoor privy. And I long ago stopped feeling the blows of Mumtaz’s strap” (McCormick 153). Lakshmi’s senses of smell and touch had already adapted to the Mumtaz’s abuse and the brothel’s foul odor because she wanted to survive in the brothel. In essence, the theme of learning to adapt is necessary for survival during times of violence and abuse fits in for Lakshmi because she had to adapt to the abuses at the Happiness House.

In a similar manner, Ishmael Beah also had to learn to adapt to war violence and abuse because it was the only way he could survive. Ishmael had used drugs to order to adapt to the harsh life of being a child soldier. Ishmael had “took turns at the guarding posts around the village, smoking marijuana and sniffing brown brown… They gave me a lot of energy” (Beah 121). In order to adapt to times of war violence and abuse, Ishmael took drugs that gave him a large abundance of energy and deprived him of his feelings, which allowed Ishmael to kill enemies more easily. Ishmael also adapted to the killings of the rebels by imagining each rebel as the killer of his family. During the war, Ishmael visualize each rebels as “simply another rebel who was responsible for the death of my family, as I had come to truly believe” (Beah 125). Ishmael adapts to times of violence by imagining each of the rebels as a person who was responsible for his family’s death. Ishmael survived in the army mainly because he had adapted to the usage of guns for his own protection. The corporal had told Ishmael that “this gun is your source of power in these times. It will protect you all you need, if you know how to use it well” (Beah 124). Ishmael used guns to kill the RUF rebels, which allowed him to adapt to the war violence and survive against many enemies. Ultimately, the theme of learning to adapt is necessary for survival in times of violence is true for Ishmael because he adapted to drug usage and unemotional method of killings.

Sold and A Long Way Gone both articulate the theme that in order to survive, adaptation is required during times of violence and abuse. Lakshmi was sold into prostitution and she had to create methods to cope with her depression and emptiness so she could survive in the harsh adultery business. After many months at the brothel, Lakshmi’s body had already adapted to the smell of men and the brothel, along with Mumtaz’s cruel punishments. Ishmael adapted to violence and abuse by joining the Sierra Leone Armed Forces Army to fight against the RUF rebels, who were the main cause of his family’s death. Drugs were used to aid Ishmael to kill rebels more easily because it gave him a large abundance of energy as well as deprivation of emotions. Ishmael also practiced using guns and visualizing the rebels as people who were responsible for his family’s death in order to ensure his own survival and make killing rebels more impactful upon himself. Adaptation plays an important role to ensure the survival of a person during times of violence and abuse. People who do not adapt during times of violence and abuse will usually find themselves dead or nearly dead.

Work Cited

Beah, Ishmael. A Long Way Gone. New York: Sarah Crichton Books, 2007. 1-229. Print.McCormick, Patricia. Sold. New York: Hyperion Books, 2006. 1-263. Print.

Read more

The Inhumanity of War and the Loss of Innocence in ‘A Long Way Gone’

January 30, 2019 by Essay Writer

David Hackworth once said “[w]ar is the ultimate reality-based horror story.” David introduces the idea that war has a constant theme of horror. Many of the events that take place in Ishmael Beah’s narrative “A Long Way Gone” support Hackworth’s opinion. Ishmael describes several events that take place on his journey to find his family; many of which turn into a horrific encounter that sometimes involves death. The tactics portrayed in war leads to a great loss and a change in point of view as portrayed in A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah.

Due to the condition of Ishmael’s home, he and his friends are given an ultimatum: either they leave the village and die or they stay and suffer through the horrific war tactics, which leads to the loss of innocence in Ishmael and his friends. The soon to be soldiers had just started to feel safe in Yele after wandering for days trying to survive and grieving the loss of their friend, they were not going to give up safety just to avoid killing rebels. After choosing to fight, Ishmael and his friends witness prisoners being lined up and killed from being shot in the head. This action is justified by the lieutenant exclaiming “[t]hat is why we need strong men and boys to help us fight these guys, so that we can keep this village safe.” (Beah 12). While at first Ishmael and a few others were disgusted by this action, they soon took part in deciding whether or not someone got to live or die. The lieutenant used this quote as propaganda to get young boys to join the fight against rebels. Not long after the encounter with death upon prisoners Ishmael and his war buddies are transformed into soldiers who can eat anything edible in one minute flat. Ishmael proclaimed that “[…] killing had become as easy as drinking water.” (Beah 12). The once innocent children are now lost brainwashed soldiers trained to kill; no one can get in their way. Violence was not the only tactic that began the process of loss for these child soldiers; drug addiction soon stripped them from all innocence as well. Ishmael shared how he “[…] had become addicted to them.”(Beah 12). Marijuana, brown brown, and white capsules fueled his addiction day after day, soon leading him to a slow recovery from withdrawal. The actions Ishmael and his companions took part in lead them to the loss of their childhood.

In response to the crumbling world around them, Ishmael and his friends would constantly try to make the best of things in order to keep the bit of childhood innocence that remained. After joining the fight against the rebels their point of view on the world was changed permanently. No longer did the child aged soldiers think there was still hope in the world; Ishmael confirmed that they were “[…] dangerous, and brainwashed to kill.” (Beah 15). They did not think twice about whether someone lived or died at this point, they just killed them. No one, in their eyes, could be trusted anymore. The boys tried so hard to steer away from violence on their lengthy journey to find their family, but now they “[…] needed the violence.” (Beah 12). This quote not only shows how their point of view shifted from finding their family to killing everyone in sight, but it also shows the effect war has had on them. No longer are they trying to flee from violence. Only after they entered the Benin Home and went through hours of people trying to rip them from the corruption of war did they realize how shifted their point of view was. As they entered the second month of living in Benin Home, Ishmael explained how they were “[…] still traumatized, and now that we had time to think, the fastened mantle of our war memories slowly began to open.” (Beah 19). The boys have now had time to relive the moments they began to regret from war. Their outlook on certain things have changed, and now not only are they traumatized from fighting but also from reliving their childhood war. The point of view from Ishmael and his friends have suffered due to participating in the Sierra Leone war.

Ishmael and his friends experiences in war showed a loss of innocence and a change in point of view. The tactics portrayed in the conflict between the Rebels and Sierra Leonean childhood soldiers shaped them into almost new people. These boys had to make hard choices during the attack from the Rebels that they grew to regret; not only that, but they failed to keep their child mind frame throughout the war. War is unnecessary and leads to a bad effect on the minds of citizens everywhere.

Read more
Order Creative Sample Now
Choose type of discipline
Choose academic level
  • High school
  • College
  • University
  • Masters
  • PhD
Deadline

Page count
1 pages
$ 10

Price