Ishmael Beah’s Families

Topics: Family, Sierra Leone Civil War, Mother Pages: 7 (1233 words) Published: May 15, 2013
Ishmael Beah’s Families

Familys in a childs life has the most impact on them. It shows them how to grow up and

who to trust. In the book “A Long Way Home” by Ismael Beah, is a true memoir about a boy

named Ismael Beah who grows up with many struggles and no family. He was only about

twelve years old when he was performing at a rap group and his village was attacked by the Civil

War in Sierra Leone leaving him and his group of friends homeless without their families. While

they are alone they struggle finding food and a shelter in different villages. While Ishmael is

looking for his family in different villages, he is captured by Lieutenant Jabati which turns him

into a boy soldier killing innocent people and making him addicted to drugs. He is then found by

UNICEF which puts him in rehab to help him find a future and fix what has happened to him in

the past. But it was not easy for him to express himself, until he finds a nurse named Esther who

helps him express himself by giving him a walkman with rap; which helped him express what

has happened in his past. He is then welcomed to live with his Uncle Tommy in Sierra Leone,

who is his next new father figure. He is then more confident about himself and shares his storys

with the United Nations in New York. Which helps him meet his foster mom named Laura

Simms who helps brighten up his future and moves then lets him move to the United States with her. Ishmael then later returns to Freetown, Sierra Leone to live with Uncle Tommy again and

while he is there the Civil War returns. His Uncle Tommys dies and then Ishmael moves back to

the United States to live a new life.

While Ishmael was growing up he never really had a real family. But he had many

people to replace being in his own family, who gave shelter and trust. The people who played a

role were Lieutenant Jabati, Esther, Uncle Tommy, and Laura Simms. If Ishmael had grown up

with a family he would have probably been shaped very different then having to go through the

suffering he had gone through. And Ishmael would have learned better things growing up with a


During Ishmaels struggle he finds a family figure which keeps him surving with not much

help. The first person to play a role as a family member is The Army Lietenant. He was found to

be a father figure to Ishmael because he teaches him to be a soldier by brainwashing him with

drugs. In the book it says, “ The boys and the other soldiers who were the audience clapped...I

was given the rank of junior lieutenant....We celebrated that day’s achievment with more

drugs..”(125). Also he had felt as a father figure because just like his father before he had past

away the Lieutenant loved shakespeare. Another big point was that while he was a boy soldier

and before that he had lost lots of friends which had made him put all his trust into the

Lieutenant. Another point is that he had always called all the shots and this made him give

respect. His last example is that he had erased Ishmaels name and turned it into “Green Snake”

which makes Ishmael fell like he had created a new person and the old him was gone. All of

these things had made Ishmael look up to the Lieutenant as a huge father figure but when the

Lietenant had let him go to UNICEF he had felt very sad and betrayed.

Another family figure which Ishmael finds during his struggle and finding...
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