A Long Way Gone Thematic Essay

Topics: Sierra Leone Civil War, Sierra Leone, Revolutionary United Front Pages: 1 (508 words) Published: April 24, 2014
The memoir A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah is about Beah’s life before, during, and after being a child soldier. After Beah’s village, Mogbwemo, was invaded, he was on the run from the war. Eventually he joined the army and fought against the Revolutionary United Front (RUF). The RUF was fighting to free Sierra Leone from their corrupt ABC government. When Beah was sixteen he was taken out of the war and was put into a rehabilitation center. There he had treatment for his physical and mental injuries from the war. Once Ishmael moved in with his uncle in the capital, Freetown, he thought he was safe. The war eventually reached the capital of Sierra Leone, so Beah escaped. Now Ishmael lives in New York. He will never forget the things he witnessed. The war changed his life forever. Despite his past experiences in the war, Ishmael has overcome his physical desires and changed his state of mind which he reflects on by writing this memoir. While Ishmael was running from the war, the idea of killing people hunted him. He could never understand how people would kill and not be affected by it. Whenever the rebels would execute civilians it would shake him up. Once Ishmael joined the army, his state of mind and judgement changed. Ishmael talks about killing innocent people stating, “killing had become as easy as drinking water. My mind had not only snapped during the first killings, it had also stopped making remorseful records” (Beah 122). This shows that after joining the army Ishmael had changed. Instead of making him sick, killing now gave him some type of fulfilment. While he was fighting, he wouldn’t feel anything. Ishmael had become immune to the world around him.

The army would make the soldiers take drugs. They would give them marijuana and cocaine mixed with gunpowder. Eventually Ishmael was addicted to them. He would do anything for the drugs, and they were all he thought about. The drugs made Ishmael feel“numbness to everything” (Beah 121). It seems that...
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