[2015] Kathryn Davis: A Long Way Gone

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[2015] Kathryn Davis: A Long Way Gone

A Long Way Gone

By Ishmael Beah

"Before the war a young man wouldn't have dared to talk to anyone older in such a rude manner." (Beah 33)

This book is about Ishmael's journy as being a boy soilder in Sierra Leone, where his lost of hummanity and childhood makes him do the unthinkable.



"We didn't know we were leaving home, never to return." (Beah 8)

I would try despriatly to think about my childhood but I couldn't. The war memories had fromed a barrier that I had to break in order to think about any moment in my life before the war. (Beah 149)

In the book "A Long Way Gone" Ishmael lets the reader into a world of danger and lost. At this point in the story everything is fine in Mattru Jong and the Ishmael his brother and a few friends leave the village to visit their grandmother. However this quote foreshadows danger coming to Ishmael. While the villagers of Mattru Jong know off the war they did not think the war would come to them. It did.

Ishmael and the boys have found themselves in a dangerous situation; they are in a village that has been taking over by rebels. From the safety of Ishmael's hiding spot he sees a terrifying sight. The rebels have found an elderly man. They yell at him and push him to the ground. Ishmael realizes that the war is changing people. Young boys that never thought that they would be killers now are. No one would ever treat an elderly in this manner, but now because they have been touched by war everything has changed.

Time after time the cassettes have saved Ishmael's life. The chief of a village would inspect them, find the cassettes and see that they were just mere children, and not anyone dangerous that could form a threat. The cassettes were a symbol of Ishmael’s freedom and his childhood before the war. However, when his cassettes melted his childhood did too. The cassettes were all Ishmael had left from his village but now he had to put that all aside, and become the boy from his nightmares a boy soldiers.




The idea of death didn't cross my mind at all and killing had become as easy as drinking water." (Beah 122)

Throughout the time of Ishmael being a solider the constant use of drugs helped him to forget all the wrongs he did. When he killed, stole, used drugs it would make him feel as if nothing happened, they were his barrier. Consequently now that the drugs have worn out and the boys have gone through withdrawal. Ishmael will have to face the memories of the war once again.

Ishmael has become a boy solider. At the first battle he trembled with fear but the effect of his friend Musa and Josiah dyeing reminded him of the loss of his family. This turning point for Ismael caused him to become full with rage and to kill the rebels without thinking twice about it. Now, even though Ishmael is not a rebel he is still acting like them; killing on demand, stealing from villages, and becoming addicted to drugs. Now he wants to kill the rebels to revenge the death of his loved ones.

The video above is an inteview on why Ishmael decided to write "A Long Way Gone."

Theme Paragraph:

Sometimes people have to do the unthinkable to survive. Ishmael experianced this times after time when he was fourced to become a boy soilder. When he was wondering from village to village he was starving and needed somewhere to call home. Ishmael and the boys eventually found Yele, "In the beginning, it seemed we had finally found safety at Yele." (Beah 101) The use of the word 'seemed' foreshadows that this villialge was not as good at it seemed.

I ran towards the fire, but the cassets had already started to melt...tears formed in my eyes" (Beah 110)


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