A Long Way Gone from Innocent

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Ryan Gamel
Period 2
10/19/11
A Long Way Gone From Innocent

A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah is a story of a boy soldier and his journey throughout his country's civil war and his forced transition from childhood to adulthood. A long way gone is a perfect title for the book because throughout his struggles he travels farther and farther from his innocence. When a boy like Ishmael is exposed to the horrors and tragedy of war at such a young age it is only human nature to adjust to the environment around them. "I would always tell people that I believe that children have the resilience to outlive their sufferings, if given a chance" (pg 169). Ishmael learned how to survive amongst constant strife and brutality. He breaks his moral codes in order to survive and looses his innocence along the way. In order for young naive boy like Ishmael to stay alive in his home country he justifies his actions in any way he can to satisfy his conscience and the morals he learned before the war. One way he does this is by connecting the rebels he is fighting to the murders of his family. “I imagined capturing several rebels at once, locking them inside a house, sprinkling gasoline on it, and tossing a match. We watch it burn and I laugh” (pg 113). This exemplifies his sudden loss of innocence caused by the tragedies and atrocities that have shaped him in to the weapon that he is now. Being influenced by the people around him and feeding on the other soldiers violent intentions has turned him into a cold hearted killer seeking revenge. Throughout all of his struggles Ishmael becomes increasingly untrusting and is gripped with paranoia.“This is one of the consequences of the civil war. People stop trusting each other, and every stranger becomes an enemy” (pg 37). Paranoia is a very mature emotion that some people acquire after many years. It is strange for a young boy to have such a high level of distrust and unease. Ishmael doesn't do things that normal kids would do, and in a...
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