A Long Way Gone Analysis

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Not experiencing war is a luxury many people unfortunately do not get; however, Ishmael Beah, the author of A Long Way Gone, lives and survives the war, though not without heartache. With war there is always fear, death, and hell. Ishmael Beah proves war is hell through the killing of civilians, the distrust, and the after effects of the war. Ishmael proves war is hell through the killing of civilians. Many innocent bystanders of the war are forced out of their homes, made to run for their lives. Ishmael witnesses many of these killings. For example, Ishmael watches a mother carrying her dead child whom “...had been shot dead as she ran for her life” (Beah 13). This mother is forced out of her home and loses her child due to the war. The…show more content…
Ishmael has a flashback of his life in the war. In his dream he encounters a body wrapped in white bed sheets, and as he unwraps it he realizes it is his own face he is looking at. He then awakens, sweating and on the ground. He says, “I was afraid to fall asleep, but staying awake also brought back painful memories” (Beah 19). Even being in a different country cannot take away the hell that Ishmael has been through. His memories of war will haunt him forever. Another example of this can be seen when Ishmael is at the UNICEF rehabilitation center. Ishmael is able to sleep without the use drugs now, but does not stay asleep. He dreams of the man who almost slit his throat. He wakes up, sweating and punching the air, and runs outside. He tries to think of his childhood but is unable to do so. “The war memories had formed a barrier” (Beah 149). Ishmael is unable to think of his life before being in hell, and his only memories are of war now. These memories of hell destroyed the memory of his family. Another effect of the war is the numbness to violence. Ishmael is at the rehabilitation center with other boys who were in the war. He discovers some of the boys are fighting for the rebels side, and with partisan views, a huge fight starts. The boys are throwing punches and stabbing each other. Ishmael began kicking a boy that went after him, and then Alhaji stabs him in the back. They both “...continued kicking the boy until he stopped moving”. Ishmael says, “I wasn’t sure whether he was unconscious or dead. I didn’t care” (Beah 135). Ishmael is no longer in the war, yet the violence and numbness to it continues. The hell from war made its way into a normal life for Ishmael. He will never be the same Ishmael from before the war. Even though war is over for Ishmael, it has lasting effects on him forever. Hell changed him, and Ishmael can not even capitulate these
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