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A Long Way

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A Long Way Gone Essay

Matthew Morgan
Prof. Carey “On Democracy”
Due: 02/27/08

For the “Everybody Reads” assignment I choose to attend the Central library book group discussion. When I first got there I was really surprised because I thought it was going to be a bigger event than what it was. There was only about 10 people total, and 5 of us were students who were there for this exact assignment. It was a really interesting discussion because half of the people that attended were my age and the other half was about two generations older, so there was a very diverse pool of perspectives and opinions. But because there was a large generation gap it was a bit more difficult for me to share my views, so I mainly listened and observed other people’s thoughts. The discussion itself was very helpful because of the different views people had about the memoir. One of the themes of A Long Way Gone that we discussed was the importance of hope. We mainly talked about how this theme was not constant throughout the memoir and that it changed with time. For example one person brought up how at first Ishmael’s only motivator was the hope of his parents being alive, then when he realized that he would never be reunited with them he had lost his hope. It was only when he remembered what his father had said about a person only lives if they have something to live for which gave him his hope back. As far as themes that’s really the only one that we discussed, but we did discuss a lot of other interesting aspects of the memoir. We discussed the validity of Ishmael’s timeframes given within the memoir and talked about the criticism that A Long Way Gone has received. Most people in the group thought that even if the times were off it is insignificant with regards to what he’s been through as a child soldier and the main message that he’s trying to project through this memoir....

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