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In A Long Way Gone and A Bite of the Mango, two devastating stories are told about the civil war in Western Africa that involves young children. Ishmael Beah is a prime example of what that war did to children. Beah turned from an innocent child and became a killer. Mariatu Kamara, a sweet young girl, became a victim. Though Beah and Mariatu both had different lives, they are linked by their loss of innocence and family structure. The loss of innocence helped to create the amazing human being Ishmael Beah has become more than his family structure or lack thereof did. A Long Way Gone is the true story of Ishmael Beah, a twelve year old boy who is sucked into the war in Sierra Leone at the ripe age of twelve. His fear of the way is exemplified when he states, “I was afraid to fall asleep, but staying awake also brought back painful memories” (Beah 19). As he is on a journey to meet a family acquaintance in a neighboring village with his close friends, he finds out that the rebels have reached his village and his life changes forever. He wanders from village to village pillaging for food and shelter. Eventually, his luck runs out and he is recruited into the army. A drugged up killing machine is what he becomes as the young bright boy he once used to be fades away. His commander gives a few child soldiers, including Beah, over to UNICEF and his rehabilitation commences. Though he struggles with forgiving himself, a nurse who shows him love and compassion helps heal this boy. Luckily, Ishmael is allowed to come and tell his story for the United Nations in a conference held in New York. While attending, he meets a woman named Laura Simms, an author who will soon become his mother. Beah returns to Freetown and once again the war finds ... ... middle of paper ... ...ficult even before the war started. Mariatu, however, has a much more traditional African family. Mariatu was only victimized in the war one time by having her hands cut off. Though gruesome, it is only a few weeks of suffering compared to years of being a soldier. It would not be outlandish to say that Mariatu’s experience does not even compare to the atrocities that Beah suffered. Works Cited "Background Notes: Sierra Leone." Background Notes. March 2011: n.p. SIRS Government Reporter. Web. 14 Nov 2013. Beah, Ishmael. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007. Print. Kamara, Mariatu, and Susan McClelland. The Bite of the Mango. [Toronto]: Annick, 2008. Print. Rice, Susan. "Prospects for Peace in Sierra Leone." Prospects for Peace in Sierra Leone. 23 Mar 1999: n.p. SIRS Government Reporter. Web. 14 Nov 2013.

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