Literary Techniques Used in the Memoir of Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone, Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

Literary Techniques Used in the Memoir of Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone, Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

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In the memoir of Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone, Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, Beah states that his life’s journey has been a huge obstacle, but has learned to overcome that struggle by venting while the two contradictory sides continue their battling. Beah accomplishes his goal of explaining to the reader his point of view through the use of rhetorical questions, scenic narration, and parallelism. Ishmael Beah’s apparent purpose is to share personal accounts of his life with his fellow country men, in a country where war affects people to a level beyond the imagination. He is able to apply his purpose using a grotesque and bitter tone. Beah approaches his audience of ordinary people in this manner in order to vent his feelings about war by sharing life experiences with his reader.
To begin, Beah is able to begin his process of revealing his purpose through his use of rhetorical questions. For example, Beah asks, “But what kind of liberation movement shoots innocent civilians, children, that little girl?” This question startles the reader in the way that it is presented. Beah, who is about thirteen years of age, asks this question awaiting an answer but turns into a rhetorical question when no one is able to give a retort to it. Beah is expecting a response in which someone will state how brutal and malicious the rebels actually were. Further into Ishmael Beah’s memoir, another rhetorical question comes into effect. Beah asks, “How many more times do we have to come to terms with death before we find safety?” This question depicts only a diminutive amount of emotion as Beah and his friends basically personify death. Death is seen as a human-being. In retelling this horrific event, Beah and his followers come face-to-face with death ...


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...counts of life in Sierra Leone were there are vicious killings and attacks going. Beah firmly places his life on the line various times during his journey with many people. He and his “crew” faced death various times with Beah personifying death. Beah’s life has been a great struggle with everything seeming to be a burden. Along with his struggles, war has been affecting his life greatly. A Long Way Gone, Memoirs of a Boy Soldier is a great way to show how childhood can be taken and transformed into a life of fear. Its stark language and raw vitality gives it full body to understand how so much terror is going on in our world and how we need to come to terms of peace with neighboring countries to show love for our world and for our people.

Works Cited
Beah, Ishmael. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. New York City, New York: Sarah Crichton Books, 2007.

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