Impact of War and Violence on Children in A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah

Impact of War and Violence on Children in A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah

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Children exposed to violence within their communities are left with emotions of hopelessness, insecurity, and doubt. Historical events such as the war on terrorism, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the tragic events of September 11th have had a detrimental effect on the entire nation, including the children. Although every child is not directly affected by the aspects of war, it somehow has an emotional effect on all. The involvement of a nation with war affects every individual differently, whether it is out of fear, anger, doubt, hope, or love. In the short novel A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah, he narrates the story by telling his own involvement in the Civil War in Sierra Leone as young boy and the many issues he faces while living in horror. Also, author Garbarino points out in his book Raising Children in a Socially Toxic Environment in the chapter involving the security of children that:

More and more children in the United States are experiencing a growing sense of insecurity about the world inside and outside the boundaries of their families. It does not take much violence and terror to set a tone of threat. Even in the worst war zones—places like Sarajevo—shooting and killing is intermittent. Memory of the emotions of trauma does not decay; it remains fresh (Garbarino 64-65).
As Garbarino recognizes, the effects of war and such violence is something that sticks with a child and remains constant in their everyday lives. The experiences that children face involving war in their communities and countries are traumatic and long lasting. It not only alters their childhood perspectives, but it also changes their reactions to violence over time. Sadly, children are beginning to play more of a major role in wars in both the...


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...volving death and separation. Children within the United States whose parents serve in the military are left to deal with issues of separation and fear. The fear of not knowing when their parents are coming home, and if they’ll come back the same person they were when they left. Since we are incapable of hiding violence and the act of war from children, it is better to help them understand the meaning behind it and teach them that violence is not always the answer. Children react based on what they see and hear, and if the community and world around them portrays positive things, then the child will portray a positive attitude as well.




Works Cited


Beah, Ishmael. A Long Way Gone. New York: Sarah Crichton Books, 2007. Print.

Garbarino, James. Raising Children in a Socially Toxic Environment. San Francisco, California: Jossey-Bass, 1995. Print.


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