A Long Way Gone
By Ishmael Beah
“A Long Way Gone” is about a 12-year-old boy, Ishmael, who was unable to return to his home in Sierra Leone because anti-government rebels had attacked his village. After traveling with a group of displaced boys for months, when he was 13 he joined the government army who were fighting against the rebels because his family had been killed. At 16 he was taken from the army by UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund organization. The chapter in this book that had the most impact on Ishmael is chapter 12, when Ishmael decides to join the army and fight against the rebels. This decision had the biggest impact because it became the pivotal point in his life where he truly lost the last of his childhood innocence. After he had joined the army he became revengeful, violent, and psychologically hurt. Soon after he had joined the army he was trained to think of every rebel as the rebel that killed his family. He was consumed by thoughts of revenge. On page 112 it says that in the army training the drill instructor said, “Visualize the enemy, the rebels who killed your parents, your family and those who are responsible for everything that has happened to you.” On page 113 Ishmael says he became very angry and began to visualize scenarios of shooting or stabbing a rebel. He imagined capturing several rebels at once, locking them in a house and setting the house on fire as they had done to his family. On page 116 he is in his first battle and two of his friends have been killed. He began to shoot at everything that moved because he was so angry that they had died.
After joining the war he didn’t care how the army treated the rebels or anyone else out of their “group.” They did whatever they wanted to accomplish their goals. On page 124 he is in a contest to see who can kill their prisoner the fastest and he says, “I didn’t feel a thing for him, didn’t think much about what I was doing.” These experiences...