A Long Way Gone Literary Analysis Essay

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The human condition is full of paradoxes and double meanings. We can commit the most shocking and terrible acts, but we can complete the most virtuous and honorable feats. Ishmael Beah describes the appalling and violent behavior he and other children exhibited toward the human life during his time in the Sierra Leonean civil war in his memoir, A Long Way Gone. Beah also details the forgiveness and kindness of complete strangers that helped him become the man that fate meant him to be. Homo sapiens are complex creatures brimming with irony and surprises. Paradoxes are not only shown in A Long Way Gone, but also illustrated in other pieces of literature such as short stories, essays, and articles. Tim O’Brien had a wife and at least one child …show more content…

There was no sense of morality or politics or duty. Tim completed what he was trained to do, and that was to defend the camp against the enemy. The lone soldier was the enemy. Later Tim views his actions as impulsive and regrets throwing the grenade, despite his peers’ support. Tim declares, “Sometimes I forgive myself, sometimes I don’t. In the ordinary hours of life I try not to dwell on it, but now and then, when I’m reading a newspaper or just sitting alone in a room, I’ll look up and see the young man coming out of the morning fog” (Ambush). Tim O’Brien was a father, a son, and a husband, yet he was also able to kill without giving thought to the action. Afterwards, however, when presented with his family, friends, and other civilians, Tim realized the gravity of the deaths he caused. Another example of paradox was the murder that in Queens, New York, around the same period as the Vietnam War. A criminal stabbed a woman outside her home, and out of the thirty-eight people in the neighborhood, zero people called the police or helped the woman. One man called out the window for the criminal to leave the woman alone, but to no avail. “From one of the upper windows of the apartment house, a man called down: ‘Let that girl alone!’… Lights

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