A Long Way Gone 1

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A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, by Ishmael Beah, tells of the experiences in his intense journey through Sierra Leone during the outbreak of war. Beah had to learn to survive the harsh outcome of the war, resulting in the loss of those whom were close to him, family and friends, and trust in people. The book has a recurring theme of nature and the natural world. In the book, the world at night, as well as the moon, serves as both a safeguard and a bringer of bereavement.

As a boy, Ishmael has heard stories and proverbs about the moon. An old man in his village would say, “We must strive to be like the moon.” (Pg. 16) Ishmael’s grandmother explained that no one complained when the moon was present. Children would play and people would gather to tell stories and dance throughout the night. She said, “A lot of happy things happen when the moon shines.” (Pg. 17) Not only does the moon bring nightfall, it also brings people together. After his grandmother tells him about the moon, Ishmael decides to observe it, to see if what she says is true. Every night, he would see different images but, in the end, it is still the moon.

Whenever Ishmael was thinking, he was constantly staring into the sky. It normally happened at night, since he could never get any sleep. “One night while I sat outside in a village square thinking about how far I had come and what might lie ahead, I looked into the sky and saw how the thick clouds kept trying to cover the moon, yet it would reappear again and again to shine all night long.” (Pg. 70) He went one to compare his journey to that of the moon. No matter what obstacles he may face, there is always a way for him reach what he wants the most. The clouds attempted to cover the moon, just as the rebels and close calls with death attempted to keep him from finding his family and freedom.

Beah always talked about the nightmares and memories that would keep him up at night. Ishmael was afraid to sleep, afraid that his...
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