A Long Way Gone

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Final: A Long Way Gone Literature Analysis

3. What kind of music does Ishmael like, and why? What is it about music that matters to Ishmael, or that moves him so? Why is it important to him, especially during his rehabilitation at Benin Home?

Ishmael likes rap. When he was little he used to rap with his brother and friends. They created a band and rap became very close to him. Even though he didn’t quite understand it, he could mash a whole bunch of words and make it sound good. Rapping made Ishmael feel masculine and strong. It is important to him because he lost all of his family and that was one connection he would always have. At the Benin Home until he found his Uncle Tommy, he was alone and rapping made him feel less lonely.

5. Explain how this harrowing account of civil war and childhood is a meditation on finding one’s ultimate purpose. How does Ishmael, at a relatively early age, arrive at what seems to be his calling in life?

In the beginning of the book, Ishmael had his family. He had his parents and his brother. Then him and his brother left home expecting to return, but because of the civil war…they never got the chance to return. During the hard times, his brother and friends became his only family. They were his support and the ones that helped him throughout the journey. Then as he lost them as well, he took on drugs to be his support. The drugs helped him but also didn’t help him because he needed rehabilitation afterwards. In rehab, he again reunited with his blood related uncle, who was family to him. Throughout the book different people or things took the place of Ishmael’s biological family. After going through a civil war at such a young age, Ishmael realizes that no child should go through such horror. Ishmael had to realize the significance and importance of life early on because he had no time to live as a normal child…carefree. With so many deaths a child is bound to realize that something horrible is going on in the world...
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