A Long Way Gone By Ishmael Beah: An Analysis

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To a child in a country of war, life can change “rapidly in a matter of seconds and no one [has] any control over anything. [They have] yet to...implement survival tactics, which [is] what it came down to” (Beah 29). Children who become soldiers are given hardly any choice because their families are usually dead, and without the army they have no family or way to survive during the war. The book “A Long Way Gone” by Ishmael Beah tells the story of how Ishmael became a child soldier in Sierra Leone during the war. The title “A Long Way Gone” can be taken in three different ways. The first being that it could mean his family is away from him, the second is him losing his humanity as a child soldier, and the third is after being saved, and not…show more content…
Ishmael was away from his family when the rebels (one side of the war) started to attack his home. Ishmael then had traveled city to city with groups of boys to avoid the rebels, and search for his family. The only thing that was getting Ishmael through the war was that he would see his family again. He couldn’t handle not knowing what had happened to his family so, “[he] decided to just ignore every thought that came to [his] head, because it brought too much sadness…[he] spent most of [his] time fighting [himself] mentally in order to avoid thinking about what [he] had seen or wondering where [his] life was going, where [his] family and friends were. Keeps being saved” (Beah 52). Ishmael had to distance himself from thoughts that his family was not alive because that was too unbearable to think about. One day, a woman told Ishmael that she had seen his family in the town next to them. Ishmael had built up hope of finally seeing his family only to arrive in the town to see rebels burning down every house. The situation was too horrible for Ishmael, he “screamed at the top of [his] lungs and began to cry as loudly as [he] could, punching and kicking with all [his] might into the weak walls that continued to burn. [He] had lost [his] sense of touch. [His] hands and feet punched and kicked the burning walls, [he] couldn’t feel a thing” (Beah 95). In this moment, Ishmael lost almost any hope he had left of getting out of the war. Ishmael was mentally too far gone to have hope, and all he has left is revenge for his family. Without his family when Ishmael finally arrived in Yele where the government was, he was willing to join the army in revenge for his family. But, even with no hope Ishmael still had ties to his past life through his rap music. Until Ishmael joined the army, “as [he] was putting on [his] new army short, a soldier took [his] old pants and threw them into a blazing

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