When he is twelve years old, Beah's village is attacked while he is away performing in a rap group with friends.
Chapter 1 Ishmael Beah is a twelve year old boy living an innocent life in the eastern part of Sierra Leone in When the memoir begins he is on his way from his hometown of Mogbwemo to the town of Mattru Jong, a sixteen mile trip, to participate in a talent show with his friends Junior and Talloi.
After a little more than a week, Mattru Jong is attacked by the rebels, and Beah flees with Junior, Talloi, and friends from Mattru Jong, including Kaloko, Gibrilla and Khalilou, into the forest, only to return to Mattru Jong out of hunger and desperation.
Their efforts are fruitless, however, and the boys wander aimlessly in the surrounding countryside, unable to cope or even talk about what they have seen, stealing food to get by. They are often mistaken for rebels and are chased, and in one case, even captured.
The village is initially vigilant about watching out for rebel attacks, but that vigilance wanes, and after a little more than four months, they too are attacked.
Beah loses track of his brother and friends in the chaos, and hides out in the forest with Kaloko, hoping for some sign that his friends have survived.
When there is none, Beah decides to get as far away from the war as possible, and leaves Kaloko behind. He promptly gets lost in the forest and wanders for a month hopelessly before coming upon a new group of boys, Alhaji, Saidu, Kanei, Jumah, Musa and Moriba. The boys head for the ocean, having heard of a town called Yele which is safe, but along the way are captured by villagers who mistake them for rebels.
The boys strike out again without much sense of purpose, but despite their sadness and their loss, are often buoyed by the kindness of people they encounter.
Gasemu leads them there, only to find that just as they are arriving, the village is being attacked. The boys rush in to find everyone dead and the village on fire. They are attacked by rebels who are returning to the village and flee, and as they do, Gasemu is shot and eventually dies of his wounds.
The boys are picked up by government soldiers soon afterwards and brought to Yele, where they think they have discovered some peace. In their first battle Musa and Josiah are killed, but in the space of that battle, Beah becomes a killer. The boys are urged by their commanders to take revenge on the rebels for the deaths of their families and are given a steady supply of drugs to keep them distanced from the present.
The boys make play of war, watching Rambo movies and trying to replicate the moves. After two years as a child soldier, Beah is taken from the front to Freetown, much to his brainwashed anger. Efforts to rehabilitate him and other boy soldiers are at first met with extreme violence from the boys.
UNICEF even makes the critical mistake of putting rebel boys and army boys in the same compound at first, and in the ensuing battle, several boys are killed.
After 7 months, Beah moves in his uncle, who lives in the capital city of Freetown, and even goes to New York City to speak at the United Nations on the behalf of child soldiers in Sierra Leone. There he meets Laura Simms, who leads a workshop to help the children tell their stories.I’m sufficiently disoriented at this point to scarce recall what I expected of the Tesla Model 3.
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timberdesignmag.com. 25 October >. A Long Way Gone study guide contains a biography of Ishmael Beah, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. A short summary of Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind.
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