A Long Way Gone

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by Molls8033
Last updated 4 years ago

Language Arts
Reading Comprehension

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A Long Way Gone

The image above shows army trucks being driven by solders most likely heading towards civilian villages. This particular picture stood out to me because the impact of just seeing a truck pass by during the war in Sierra Leone struck fear into citizens and they were worried about being captured and/or killed.

This image represents the burning of Ishmael's parents village resulting in the destruction and death of his family. In the novel this was the turning point for Ishamel to either wallow in sorrow and feel pity, or to pick himself back up and fight this battle.


"The idea of death didn’t cross my mind at all and killing had become as easy as drinking water. My mind had not only snapped during the first killing, it had also stopped making remorseful records, or so it seemed" (Beah 123). In the text at this point Ishmael is a child soldier fighting against the rebels and now had killed his first victim. This is significant because this shows how the mindset of a child soldier works and how manipulated it is compared to an average twelve year old boy.

It's not your fault




"The moon wasn’t in the sky; the air was stiff, as if nature itself was afraid of what was happening" (Beah 29). At this point in the text the war against the rebels was just beginning; striking fear into young boys and families. For Ishmael this made his day to day life very stressful and unpredictable worrying that he would become a child soldier.

"I was glad to see other faces and at the same time disappointed that the war had destroyed the enjoyment of the very experience of meeting people. Even a twelve-year-old couldn’t be trusted anymore" (Beah 56). This quote shows the after effects of the war in Sierra Leone and demonstrates the warped perception of citizens and especially young boys which can be dangerous towards Ishmael.

A Long Way Gone by: Ishmael Beah

In the interview with Ishamel Beah, he was first asked the question of what is the purpose/ benift of rehabilitation centers. Ishmael responded with that children who under went rehabilitation should be offered equal opportunities regarding jobs, socialization, and also having a voice in society. The centers give the children hope and a purpose for being alive and well after the war. Later on in the interview Ishmael touches on the point of military laws and the governments duty towards children to enforce certain laws and act upon them accordingly.

This song "Some Nights" by F.U.N connects well with Ishmaels life mostly focusing throughout the beginning and middle of the novel A Long Way Gone by Ishamel Beah. In the chorus of the song there is a question asking "What do I stand for?" In response the singer answers "Most nights I don't know anymore..." Clearly this message from the song is replicated in Ishamels life when he is unsure about joining the army. Further along in the book he is now used to the life of a soldier and his ethics/ integrity is blurred from reality.

In the picture you see Ishamel shaking hands with Laura Simms. This is significant because it verifies that Ishamel escaped successfully, and also showed how he created his own family in New York City.

In this image you see a group of carefree boys playing soccer. In the beginning of the novel, Ishamel and his friends from Mattru Jong used to play with his friends for most of his free time enjoying his childhood innocence. This shows how simple Ishmaels life was in the beginning and then progressively became more and more complicated especially when the war hit and he had to become a child soldier.

This picture is the New York City skyline that Ishmael had visited later on in the novel. I felt that this event was significant because one, Ishmael had never been to America let alone a giant city like New York, and also this was the first time he met other children across the globe dealing with similar problems that he faced at home.

"A woman with two seven-year-old boys pleaded with the officer, telling him that she needed the money to feed her boys in Conakry. The man just kept his hand out and yelled at the woman to step aside. It sickened me to see that Sierra Leoneans asked money from those who had come from the war. They were benefiting from people who were running for their lives" (Beah 207). Those in power took advantage of the people in need and didn't care regardless of their situation making the country corrupt and citizens suffer.

"We walked slowly toward my uncle’s house, his arm around my shoulders. I was happy walking with my uncle, but I worried whether his family would accept me the way he had—without asking me anything about my war years" (Beah 173). The quote symbolizes how Ishmael struggled to be accepted among society and especially his family. This is significant because others should be aware of the after effects from the rehabilitation center

By: Molly Becker


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