A Long Way Gone

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A Long Way Gone
Ishmael Beah describes his life as a child soldier in the civil war of his home country in Sierra Leone during the 1990’s in his novel, A Long Way Gone. The beliefs of both John Locke and Thomas Hobbes are incorporated throughout the story. There are examples of how people can be naturally selfish and wicked but also how others can learn from their experiences and look after the welfare of society. In Beah’s novel, the civil war in Sierra Leone gives such examples proving Hobbes and Locke correct. (57)

Thomas Hobbes believed that without government there would be war of every man against every man and people’s lives would be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”. In the novel, Hobbes’ ideas about life without government are proved to be true. We see his ideas as Ishmael becomes a child soldier and he goes out to kill others. People just like Ishmael and his family were willing to kill others just because they could. Throughout the story, soldiers would shoot others for no reason or shot them just because they thought they killed one of their fellow soldiers. This proves that when there is no government, people will turn against each other and it will be war of every man against every man. Ishmael and his friends were held at gunpoint several times by people just like him because they thought they were rebels because of their age and how similar they looked to rebels. Ishmael describes, “Many times during our journey we were surrounded by muscular men with machetes who almost killed us before they realized that we were just children running away from the war.” (57). This shows that people could not trust anyone. Anyone who is considered or looks like a threat to them, they are willing to kill. Many people were very lonesome and it was every man for himself. In the book, Ishmael said, “People stopped trusting each other, and every stranger became an enemy. Even people who knew you became extremely careful about how they related or spoke to...
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