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A Long Way Gone

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In A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah, many events change his life and he has to choose to live with them or die. Ishmael has changed because of several major events that he lived through and has adapted and that has helped him survive in his war ravaged country. He has changed from young, innocent boy to mindless child solider to a proper adult but he still survives and that makes him very resilient.

Though it was hard he found himself amongst war. One of the first major events was that he lost his parents. He was in Mattru Jong when rebels attacked his home in Mogbwemo. Slowly by surely wounded people started trickling in and he found out that way that he had lost his parents. His parents weren’t dead, just lost in the country. That changed him because it was the first of many wounds on his body and soul. Throughout the book he searches for them but they remain elusive and not inflicting wounds on the mortal body but instead ripping a large hole in his heart. “The sun peacefully sailed through the white clouds, birds sang from tree tops, the trees danced to the quiet wind. I still couldn’t believe the war had actually reached our home. It was impossible, I thought. We had left home the day before, there had been no indication the rebels were near.” (Beah, 10)He couldn’t believe it. It was just not possible. Your home is a fortress until it shatters.

The second major event was becoming a boy solider at a young age. “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, 122)When in the war he took drugs, killed people but his mind was a blank so all he could think about was killing, the enemy, and where to get his next fix. This could cause mental health issues that he has to live with, as well as an abusive drug addiction that could create some problems in his physical health later on in his life.

The third event was going to a facility where the taught him to become “human” again. They took away the guns and drugs but thanks to drug withdrawal and being taught to become a machine that killed they had violent tendencies and picked fights. “It hadn’t crossed their minds that a change of environment wouldn’t immediately make us normal boys; we were dangerous and brainwashed to kill.” (Beah, 135) That changed him because it helped him become himself again. Even though he carried scars, mentally and physically from the war, he tried to become normal again and try to live a better life.More evidence to support this is when war came back to Freetown. He ran away to Guinea because he didn’t want to become that dangerous, brainwashed child soldier again to suffer from old wounds. At the end of the book, Ishmael has been through many events that have changed the course of his life, making him who he is today. After all that he went through, he worked hard to get his life back together again, piece by piece. Though some of the pieces are bad they helped him who he is and who he is today.

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