Narrative Reflection: a Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah

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Tati Rines
Mrs. Curtin
2nd period English 9 Honors
27 September 2012
Society Is An Onion:
A Narrative Reflection for A Long Way Gone
Society can be represented by an onion. There are many layers to both. In society, the center is an individual. It then moves on to family, community, nation, and finally, humankind. Each layer cannot exist without the layers underneath it, just like how an onion cannot be an onion without its many supporting layers. A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah shows the layers of society through memories. Beah has experienced these layers through war, and explains each one in his memoir. The first, being himself.

When an individual is torn away from his/her parents, moral corruption may be imminent. Once Ishmael and his friends are separated from their families, they are looked down upon by others. They are seen as filthy, useless beings, and that arises many internal conflicts. The separation also leaves a lot of responsibility on the individual. They have to provide for themselves. “Apart from eating and drinking water and once every other day taking a bath, I spent most of my time fighting myself mentally in order to avoid thinking about… where my family and friends were.”(Beah 52). This quote from the memoir shows how he was experiencing self conflict because of the loss of his family. It shows that separation from one’s family impacts his/her life.

Families sacrifice whatever it takes to reunite after being separated. Ishmael traveled across Africa to attempt to reunite with his family. He sacrificed many days and went through a lot of pain to find them. Even his family, while in the village where all the Mattru Jong refugees were staying, kept looking for Ishmael, even if the searches were in vain. “One man was carrying his dead son. … The father was covered with his son’s blood, and as he ran he kept saying, ‘I will get you to the hospital, my boy, and everything will be fine.’ Perhaps it was necessary that he cling to false...
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