A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Bech

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This memoir about a boy soldier was very condescending. This was a true story for the author, Ishmael Beah and his life-changing events that occurred in his past. Ishamel Beah was a twelve year old African boy who lived in Sierra Leone Africa who fled attacking rebels due to a civil war in his country, who wandered into different villages trying to avoid the violence that seemed almost inevitable. He sauntered along with his brother and friends who scraped by day-by-day scavenging for food and struggled for survival. In the fifth chapter of the book, Beah describes the struggles he went through by saying, “…our joints weakened and ached” (p. 30). After days of traveling, Beah was eventually taken by the group of rebels and became one of those he feared. He becomes part of the rebel army and is brainwashed into thinking that he can avenge the death of his own family who were slaughtered by those same rebels. The thing that kept the all the young boys fighting was them being forced to get addicted to cocaine, marijuana, and things of that sort to keep their emotions strong for the times in war. Beah was turned into a fierce boy soldier into the Lieutenant in charge brought him into the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Beah was taken into a rehabilitation center and was treated by a nurse who helped him get back into humanity and heal from the events that he has gone through. The overall purpose of him telling us his story is to inform us on how far we can go into something, like him being part of a rebel army, being able to rehabilitate back to his normal self, and understand these hardships. He writes about his experience to show how he’s changed. What shows his point of change is when Beah arrives in New York and he says ...

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... to feel my ribs when I touched my sides” (p.30). He noted all the bloodshed that had occurred and the Imam who was set on fire by the rebels. An imam was a religious leader who was murdered by some of the rebels. Beah remembered all the violence that happened and even when the rebels tortured the older man right in front of Ishmael’s eyes.
Overall, the rhetorical devices that Ishmael Beah uses are used well to show his age. When he uses the allusion, he refers to a movie about war and guns and a ton of violence and that really showed Beah’s knowledge of war and was foreshadowing the events he was brought into in real life. It really jumped out and told it extremely well from his point of view as a boy soldier and when he was little. Ishmael Beah did a fantastic job describing his past and the rhetoric that was included in this piece enhanced his story very well.

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