Character Analysis: A Long Way Gone

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Imagine your home being burnt before your eyes, your family unjustly slaughtered, witnessing innocent people shot without reason, imagine being behind the trigger. Experiencing traumatic events such as these will negatively affect anyone’s character. Ishmael Beah, a child in Sierra Leone, experienced just that. In A Long Way Gone Ishmael Beah uses his life story do demonstrate how childhood and innocence are not synonymous. Many believe that youth somehow gives an unlimited supply of innocence, but Ishmael’s story argues otherwise. This is because after experiencing a traumatizing environment, his character has changed, from an innocent boy to a violent soldier. Ishmael and his friends are running from the rebels. They are just one step ahead of them, yet in the midst of a situation he realizes that, “The sky was at its bluest..My eyes widened, a smile forming on my face. Even in the middle of the madness there remained a true and natural beauty, and it took my mind away from my current situation.”(Beah 59) Ishmael manages to take his mind off of what he is experiencing and focus on the natural beauty around him. This shows the magnitude of Ishmael’s innocence before becoming involved as a soldier. Ishmael is at the army’s current base and is reflecting on his feelings about the enemy. He angrily thinks how, “Whenever I looked at rebels during raids, I got angrier, because they looked like the rebels who played cards in the ruins of the village where I had lost my family. So when the lieutenant gave orders, I shot as many as I could.”(Beah 122) The pain and sadness Ishmael first felt after losing his family has morphed into uncontrollable anger after becoming a soldier. He…show more content…
Ishmael’s description of his three years as a soldier proves that every human is capable of committing horrible acts. Anyone who does so will eventually change the basis of their character and
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