Young Ishmael Beah: A Long Way Gone

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Murderer. When you think about this word, the first thing that pops into your mind wouldn’t be a child, but for many around the world, this is the case. Over 300,000 children fight in wars around the world, slaughtering person after person without mercy. Ishmael Beah’s a long way gone is about the author’s first-hand experience of the 10 – year civil war in Sierra Leone, in which he was turned into one of these brutal, savage killers and then later rehabilitated. In the beginning of the book, young Ishmael, who is about 12 years old at the time, travels to a city called Mattru Jong with his brother, Junior, to participate in a talent show, where they learn that their village was attacked by a rebel group. Soon after, Mattru Jong is attacked…show more content…
During combat, many innocent civilians can be killed either by accident or on purpose or accidental, which will cause their friends and or family members to want compensation for those deaths of their loved ones. According to Mike Wessels’s article Sierra Leone: Child Soldiers, “[…] families encourages sons to join opposition groups as a means of avenging the deaths of family members or of seeking ‘blood revenge’” (Wessels). During the book a long way gone, one of Ishmael’s mail goals is seeing his family again. When he reaches the village that his family was staying in, however, it is attacked and his family is burned alive inside a building. This traumatic experience causes Ishmael to want the rebels to pay for what they did to his family. “Whenever I looked at the rebels during the raids, I got angrier, because they looked like the rebels who played cards in the ruins of the village where I lost my family […] I shot as many as I could” (Beah, 122). Ishmael hated the rebels with a burning passion for killing his family, so his anger grew and grew and he began to kill as many as possible in effort to satisfy his hunger for revenge. Ishmael’s desire for revenge not only stemmed from his family’s deaths, but from the deaths of his companions as well. “Every time I stopped shooting to change magazines and saw my two young lifeless friends, I angrily pointed my gun into the swamp and killed more people” (Beah, 119). The death of Ishmael’s friends provided an even bigger reason to despise the rebels, for his friends were almost his new family. Ishmael had gone deeper down the path into hatred and began to have no mercy, for he imagined his victims as the murderers of his friends and family. All in all, Ishmael’s desire to avenge the deaths of his friends and family was a big part in him becoming a child
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