A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah Essay

A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah Essay

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Hope enables people to move on by providing the thought that maybe tomorrow’s events will be better than today’s. Hope is a theme that remains constant in every part of A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah. Ishmael begins the novel optimistic, believing he will find his family again. This optimism is later lost when Ishmael is recruited by the army to fight against the rebels, causing him to become addicted to drugs and the thrill of killing. Three years after his recruitment, Ishmael is rescued by UNICEF-a group dedicated to rehabilitating child soldiers. During his rehabilitation, Ishmael discovers hope once more by relearning how to trust, love, and have the will to survive. The presence of hope throughout A Long Way Gone enables Ishmael to have an ability to move on and a will to survive that he lacks when he loses hope.
Ishmael starts his journey with a will to escape and survive the civil war of Sierra Leone in order to reunite with his mom, dad, and younger siblings, who fled their home when his village was attacked by rebels. Having only his older brother, who he escaped with, and a few friends by his side Ishmael is scared, but hopeful. When the brothers are captured by rebels, Ishmael’s belief in survival is small, as indicated by his fallible survival tactics when he “could hear the gunshots coming closer…[and] began to crawl farther into the bushes” (Beah 35). Ishmael wants to survive, but has little faith that he can. He is attempting to survive by hiding wherever he can- even where the rebels can easily find him. After escaping, Ishmael runs into a villager from his home tells him news on the whereabouts of his family. His optimism is high when the villager, Gasemu, tells Ishmael, “Your parents and brothers wil...


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...ploys children rather than men. He is subjected to the violence of the war for more than three years before he is finally rescued by an organization dedicated to rehabilitating child soldiers. Once Ishmael discovers happiness, affection, and a will to survive, he regains what hope he had lost. No matter the circumstances concerning it, hope has always been the trigger for events in Ishmael’s life, thus making hope a theme present throughout the entirety of A Long Way Gone. Hope allows Ishmael to bounce back from the tragic events that marked his teenage years and discover a will to survive.



Works Cited

Beah, Ishmael. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007. Print.
Hạnh, Nhất, and Arnold Kotler. Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life. New York, NY: Bantam, 1991. Print.

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