A Long Way Gone Music Analysis

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Music As a Healing Tool in A Long Way Gone Throughout the novel A Long Way Gone, music is used as a motif. Music is used to distract or calm the soldiers in rehabilitation, as it has the ability to trigger emotional responses. Also, music is used to remind the soldiers of their innocence and life before the war. And lastly music is used to create common ground amongst strangers. In Chapter 17, music is seen as a means of distraction when Esther is examining Beah. Beah states that, "[Esther] [his] checked tongue, used a flashlight to look in [his] eyes... [he] didn't care because the song had taken ahold of [him]." (Beah 154). Esther manipulates both Beah's interest in music, and the ability music has to take focus. Esther did this…show more content…
In Chapter 19 when Beah goes to the pub we are shown the first glimpse of music in the community after the war. Beah even meets a girl named Zainab, but is not able to continue their relationship as she would, "ask to many questions." (Beah 184). And finally during Beah's trip to New York City for the UN conference, Beah and fifty six other children, "[sang] a chant [they] had come up with, they [they] [sang]; [they] then cried...laughed...[and] danced." (Beah 199) in celebration of their successes and healing. By sharing such intimate stories, memories, feelings, and songs, barriers were broken allowing the children to realize that they were not alone and can help each other heal. Music is one of the few things that can trigger both a emotional and a mental response, being able to cause the listener to feel happy, yet also remind the listener of a specific time in their lives. Music can bring people together, and ultimately reveal the child in all of us. In the novel A Long Way Gone we are shown just how much of an impact music can have on one boy's life, and hope to teach us the benefit of having music in everyone's
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