The author of A Long Way Gone argues against boy soldiers but also against the loss of innocence. Beah’s parents are burned alive by the rebels; this is the first step towards his animosity towards them. In his story he talks about snorting brown brown, shooting men and how he was slowly corrupted by the men around him, turning him into a machine. It tells the story of a world as horrendous as any imagined by the darkest of fiction writers.
However, upon completion of the book, I have realized that I have made a journey from darkness to redemption along with the author.
Look in the book where the UNICEF officials are dehumanizing the boy soldiers. How they had been programed to hate the rebels and even fight intensely with them at the camp intended on them intolerance society. How the children get mesmerized to think and believe the morals that the commanders have. He is arguing that the war took away his childhood.
“Instead of playing soccer in the village square, I took turns at the guarding post around the village” (Page 121) It is so powerful when you have to think about being a programmed child and then coming back into normal society.
It is easily comparable to being insane and then attempting to regain your sanity. Ishmael Beah is rescued, against his will, from a life that surely would have ended soon. Taken by UNICEF to a rehabilitation camp, Beah begins the long struggle to reintegrate into a normal existence. However, the children cause much trouble for the volunteer staffers at the facility, with Ishmael experiencing symptoms of drug withdrawal as well as troubling memories of his time as a child soldier. Beah is constantly reminded of his horrid and malicious past remembering the stacks of children’s body’s that have been killed in action (Pg. 00). “One boy asked how I was doing and what I had been up to. I wanted to tell him that I had done severe migraine where in the image of a burning village flashed in my mind, followed by wailings of many voices; instead I told him that everything was fine. Despite the violence caused by the children, one of the staffers, Nurse Esther, becomes interested in Ishmael, learning about his childhood love of rap music. As a gift Esther gets him a rap cassette and Walkman, when she takes Ishmael and his friend Alhaji to the city.
It is through this connection and his numerous counseling experiences with Esther that Ishmael eventually turns away from his violent self and starts to heal from his mental wounds. The second part of the book takes an uncompromising look at the difficulties this entailed for the boy soldier and his peers, who for a long time resist the most determined efforts to restore their humanity, their anger at having been taken from their family. Children are meant to be protected from violence and war. They are extremely vulnerable both physically and psychologically, to abuse and misguidance.
They are easily influenced by those around them because they are young and incapable of forming independent opinions. Adult soldiers at Ishmael’s base were snorting brown brown and smoking marijuana, Ishmael, as naive as any child would be, was influenced by these people and looked up to the adults as role model and leader and so he began to do it as well. “I took turns at the guarding posts around the village, smoking marijuana and sniffing brown brown” The job of a soldier is to fight wars, to take lives, to kill if not be killed.
If these children are taught hatred from such young age, they are more likely to carry it on to adulthood, and then passed on to future generations. What this creates is a society free of morals, acceptance, forgiveness and all the wonderful things that make us human. Without kindness, self-expression and creativity and of course love, they become like machines, and learn only to follow orders mechanically. Living in constant fear and uncertainty, they become dehumanized. Physical punishments are also common as child soldiers are taught from early on, the consequences of not following orders. I shot everything that moved. ” – Ishmael Beah “This country has lost its good heart, people don’t trust each other anymore” (Page 56)The taking of others property or stealing is another major cause of an argument which can also lead to war. “I just wanted to kill it because it ate the only food we had. ” which was a line said by Ishmael on (Page 78). The overall greed or hunger of powerful people, such as soldiers, can be devastating to small isolated villages and or communities.
“The rebels will kill anyone from this village, because they will consider us their enemy spies. (Pg. 106) The effects of the war spread far beyond the battlefield. The military of the great powers moved young boys away from their homes, some for good. The war brought ruin to many, to others hope it had a devastating effect as thousands of soldiers died and civilians were killed in the war. Ishmael Beah, through the help of the staff at the rehabilitation center, he learned how to forgive himself, to regain humanity, and, finally, to heal. I believe that Beah has had his childhood stolen but he will not let something like this happen again.
At the end of the story Beah is given the chance to speak to children about the troubles he has gone through and the ludicrous beliefs that the rebels in Sierra Leon with hold. “A breath taking and unself pitying account of how a gentle spirit survives a childhood from which all innocence has suddenly been sucked out. Its truly a riveting memoir. ” – Time “A Long Way Gone” makes you wonder how anyone comes through such unrelenting ghastliness and horror with his humanity and sanity intact.
Cite this A Long Way Gone Argument
A Long Way Gone Argument. (2016, Oct 25). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/a-long-way-gone-argument/