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A Long Way Gone Essay


The Perspective Of A Boy Soldier

Africa is a country torn by civil wars that have long been ignored. Many filmmakers, reporters and other authors have attempted to grasp the intensity of the civil wars but spoil them with frivolous embellishments. Unfortunately, they diminish the bloody massacre for what the war really is presenting the mass populace with a less accurate account of the terrible bloodshed. The Democratic Republic of the Congo makes up less than a quarter of Africa and has 1,200 people die daily with a total of more than 3.9 million dead since 1998. These numbers do not include the 1.3 million displaced Africans and more than 40,000 rapes that are increasing with each passing breath.

Ishmael Beah, an African who was once a part of one of the many civil wars inside Africa has a perspective of war that no other, author or producer has ever been able to reproduce in the way Ishmael Beah has done. With the creation of his memoir “A Long Way Gone” Ishmael has told the world about the cruelties and injustices committed upon boy soldiers.

The attributes that Ishmael Beah uses in his memoir “A Long Way Gone” are simple. The personal bond that Ishmael creates between himself and the audience makes Ishmael a profound and unique storyteller. The seemingly innocent African has had his innocence and humanity stripped by the effects of war. Ishmael Beah has been inside the turmoil of war as a soldier. A soldier trained and manipulated to kill without remorse. A soldier addicted to the only thing that keeps him sane, drugs. A soldier who has killed a countless number of innocent lives. But Ishmael is also a soldier who has been rehabilitated, to become a scarred man who will forever be haunted by his past.

Ishmael’s first hand experience of the bloody war makes his perspective unrivaled. The style in which Ishmael writes seems overly simplistic, but the simplicity creates an atmosphere and tone which places the reader in the “crapes” of Ishmael. Ishmael captures the essence of the bloodshed and places the insanity within his memoir giving a sensation of how extreme the war is. The intimacy Ishmael creates between himself and audience builds into a relationship in which Ishmael bares his darkest and innermost secrets. As Ishmael exposes the wicked acts that he performed, a bond of trust is created giving Ishmael’s words further weight and meaning.

After Ishmael reveals the monstrosities of his past, the reader begins to have confidence in Ishmael’s words. The feeling of indisputable truth and openness in which Ishmael shares with the audience is the focal aspect of the memoir in which no other has ever reproduced. The feeling of Ishmael divulging confidential secrets about his past and the straight-forward diction that Ishmael writes in making the tone go from that of bliss to terrified and finally to disgust.

At the end of the memoir Ishmael does yet another thing that no other author has done. Ishmael subtly begs the question of whether or not he should be able to forgive himself and have the luxury to live a normal life like any other person.

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