A Long Way Gone Reading Response
By: Jesica Thambipillai
The memoir A Long Way Gone reveals the heart-wrenching story of an individual’s struggle to reclaim his true self after serving as a child soldier in the civil war. The horrifying events of the war retold in the novel remain present in mind. I cannot recall how many times I felt nauseated when I read about the gruesome battles and bloodshed. The author, Ishamel Beah explains, “My squad is my family, my gun is my provider, and protector, and my rule is to kill or be killed” (52, Beah). Before the war, Ishamel lived a life of contentment. But during the war, Ishmael lost his family, and he was robbed of his childhood, causing him to become resentful and cold. Beah was a child soldier serving the army force, and he was responsible for several massacres; however, during battle there was no time to show remorse or to display morality. The only options were to kill or be killed. Ishamel Beah was brutally honest with the acts of violence he had committed. Beah’s level of honesty inspires me. At age 12, he was handed a gun and was told to kill. Beah was traumatized from the war, but fortunately, he was given the opportunity to rehabilitate himself. I commend Beah for writing this beautiful memoir, for it has allowed him to leave behind a legacy that makes readers aware of his cause. He persevered to give hope and advocate about the struggles faced in Sierra Leone by child soldiers. Beah reminds readers that there is always hope. At any given time during his hardships, Beah had the choice to give up, but he did not; he rose to the challenge in overcoming his obstacles and reclaimed his true self. Beah faces many struggles, both internally and externally. He faced the pressure of choosing between conforming to war or risking being killed and suffering from a lack of resources, which ultimately tested his survival skills. Despite these challenges, Beah continued to persevere. The author manages to do a great...
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