Symbolism In A Long Way Gone By Ishmael

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Symbolism is used to help you not only understand the characters but also helps develop a coherent theme. In the long way gone the symbol used to help explain Ishmael’s struggles comes straight from his own pocket in the form of a beat-up cassette. It follows him along on the journey and with its demise you also see the tragic end of the childhood it has represented.
When the fighting and violence started to occur brought by rebels and soldiers Beah and his friends still had the cassettes to enjoy and dance around with allowing them to still have an essence of childhood. Running from village to village the cassette remains in Ishmael’s pocket, like a reminder of his innocence and where he came from. The cassette is one of the only things that remains intact from Ishmael’s previous life back in Mogbwemo; his home town.
There is much violence that Ishmael faces in this story and you wouldn’t think a cassette would be an ideal weapon but other saving him from peril, it saves him from completely loosing himself. Ishmael carries on through his tuff journey holding on to his little piece of home, he holds …show more content…

When the cassette tapes were “killed” in a fire by soldiers they were not the only thing lost. This turn of events represents the loss of childhood and innocence that the cassettes once represented. It is this moment that Ishmael turns from a childish boy to a blood thirsty soldier of war. Later on even saying “My squad is my family, my gun is my provider, and protector, and my rule is to kill or be killed.”(Beah 116) With the last reminder of his home town and youth gone, part of Ishmael is gone too and even in the later future he is never the same. Ishmael later reviles “I feel as if there is nothing left for me to be alive for. I have no family, it is just me. No one will be able to tell me stories about my childhood.”(Beah 167), after losing the only piece of his childhood, he has lost it

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