A vivid use of description when discussing stories about the war in Sierra Leone drastically impacts the readers. The war in Sierra Leone broke out in March of 1991, and it lasted until 2000. This war happened because a group of men believed that the recently independent government of Sierra Leone was corrupt (Bah pg. 2-3).The Revolutionary United Front, or the rebels, began to attack villages in attempt to overthrow the government. They typically cut off the hands and feet of civilians. RUF grew, and they took over much of the countryside. Then, they began to attack Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, continuing their attempt to overthrow the government. They killed and wounded thousands, and they robbed many innocent children of their childhood. Two of the many children affected by this war were Ishmael Beah and Mariatu Kamara. The use of imagery elevates narratives, and A Long Way Gone utilizes imagery more effectively than The Bite of the Mango.
The gruesomeness of the war in Sierra Leone is described in more detail in A Long Way Gone. Throughout A Long Way Gone, Beah descriptively talks about what he sees and experiences due to the war. For example, Beah states,
When she stopped at where we stood, she sat on the ground and removed her child. It was a girl, and her eyes were still open, with an interrupted innocent smile on her face. The bullets could be seen sticking out just a little bit in the baby’s body and she was swelling. The mother clung to her child and rocked her. She was in too much pain and shock to shed tears. (Beah 13)
This description give the readers an image of horrible the attacks on civilians are. In The Bite of the Mango, Kamara really only describes the rebels and he...
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...r says how this affected her other than physically. She also is raped by a man from her old village. She expresses her anger and disgust for the man, but again does not say anything about the lasting effects on her as a person. In addition, she loses her child. Kamara does express the guilt she feels inside from mistreating the child. Although she shows her guilt, she does not express anger or sadness due to the loss she experiences.
Readers can relate to Beah much more than Kamara because of his imperative use of imagery. The use of imagery in the description of the war, the description of nature and scenery, and the description of personal feelings is much stronger in A Long Way Gone. This narrative is preferred due to the use of more expressive and graphic imagery that Beah used. In order to portray a story and engage the readers, one must use colorful imagery.
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