A Long Way Gone By Ishmael Beah Essay

A Long Way Gone By Ishmael Beah Essay

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“A Long Way Gone” is a novel written in first person point of view about the author, Ishmael Beah’s memoirs as a child soldier. The novel has realistic descriptions of the civil war including the bloody environment, the losses of family and friends, and Beah’s mind. The inclusion of Beah’s thoughts allows you to see Beah’s perspective of the civil war. The novel demonstrates a combination of styles and a great plot with many details, making the story very enjoyable. It displays how much courage, power, and dignity a person needs to get over warfare.
Ishmael Beah is a happy 12 year old boy who loves to perform rap dance with his friends in Sierra Leone. While he and his friends were away, their village was attacked. War had unexpectedly caught up to him and his friends, forcing them to learn survival tactics through instincts. Eventually, he was enlisted as a soldier in an army to protect the village he stayed in, but potentially became a brainwashed rebel-killing machine on drugs. In Beah’s perspective, being a soldier for a few years felt like decades. He thought that the army had become his family and would continue to shed violence for his future as well, until he was sent to a rehabilitation center with UNICEF. At first he struggled to get over the drugs and constant nightmares, but with the help of a lovely nurse named Esther, his friends in the rehabilitation center, and his new family including Uncle Tommy and Laura Simms, he was able to slowly forgive himself. Returning to Freetown after having an interview in New York, he soon learns that the war had also reached the city. In fear of either becoming a soldier again or being killed by his former army friends if he refused, Ishmael decided to leave for Guinea.
Being in war...


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...memoir, because it’s written from the personal knowledge of Beah’s history. I recommend this book to others because reading this will benefit readers, as it did for me, by helping us realize and see a different world. It transports us into the lives of children whose lives have been altered by war. It teaches us a lesson that survival isn’t easy and war can change a beautiful person to the most alarming person, but it’ll never be your fault. “There was no right answer. If you spared the monkey, someone was going to die, and if you didn’t, someone would also die” (Beah, 218) This quote shows exactly why it’s not anybody’s fault. No matter the choice you choose, there will always be a consequence. It takes great courage, power, and love in oneself to accept reality, but just remember that you’re not alone. Don’t give up, push through the fear, and be like the kind moon.

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