A Long Way Gone Essay

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Innocence and Childhood No More

Allison Bauza
Ms. Kaarto
World Literature
10/1/12
Topic 3

When people talk about childhood it’s usually a happy conversation filled with lots of laughter, happiness, and remembering the innocence. In the memoir A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah, this is not the case. In the beginning it starts off with Ishmael as an innocent child who loves rap music, but it all get destroyed in the blink of an eye. War and innocence are two things that should never mix, but in A Long Way Gone they mix beyond separation. So many children from Sierra Leone got caught up in the war, and were forced to do things that even grown men shouldn’t have to do. They were forced to kill people in inhumane ways and do drugs. Childhood is something that should be shielded from war and destruction at all costs; Beah’s true innocence is lost through forced immoral actions.

The war that changed everyone’s life in Sierra Leone took everything from everyone; It stripped down people to nothing. The rebels took families, killed them, took all their belongings, took the children and made them drug addict killers. Unfortunately, Ishmael Beah was subject to it all. While reading A Long Way Gone, Beah clearly shows the gradual slipping of his childhood. He reflects on a memory of himself realizing how different was from before the war started when he says, “One evening we actually chased a little boy who was eating two boiled ears of corn himself” (30). The loss of being innocent started off when the boys got really hungry. The war had kicked them into the woods to fend for themselves, and they had no choice but to start doing bad things for food. Like chasing that little boy and stealing his corn. They slowly became savages, but couldn't help themselves. They had to become thieves and also try to justify what they were doing by telling themselves that it...
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