Symbolism In A Long Way Gone By Ishmael Beah

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How would you feel if you were recruited as a soldier during war? Since 2001, the participation of child soldiers has been reported in 21 on-going or recent armed conflicts in almost every region of the world. The importance of this is portrayed in Ishmael Beah’s memoir A Long Way Gone. The author believes that innocent kids should not be selected to fight as soldiers, lose their innocence killing people, witnessing violent scenes and suffer because of war. This is seen throughout the symbolism of the novel. Firstly, the first symbol that symbolizes Beah’s loss of innocence is the AK-47. The AK-47 symbolizes in the novel the loss of innocence and provides confidence and a sense of security. We can see his loss of innocence on page 19, “I saw myself holding an AK-47 and walking through a coffee farm with a squad that consisted of many boys and a few adults. We were on our way to attack a small town…show more content…
The white sheet symbolizes his purity and innocence but when he sees his own face in the dead body it symbolizes the opposite, “ I collapse on the ground and hold the body in my arms. Blood spots begin to emerge on the white bedsheets covering it. (...) I lift the cloth from the body’s face. I am looking at my own face ” (Beah 19). The quote shows the process of how Beah loses his innocence because of war, because it describes how the white sheet, the symbol of innocence, gets dirty from the blood of the dead body. Also when Ishmael sees his face in the body it shows his desperation from the war and his suffering. To conclude, the author believes that a kid should not suffer and lose their purity during war. This is seen through symbols in the memoir a Long Way Gone like the Ak-47, the baby and the white sheet. This theme is significant because it is a real-world problem and many children suffer from it. People should find a solution before it is too

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