A Long Way Gone
How many different tenses does a story typically have? Referring to the past can give you some insight on why things are as they are in the present. In A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah, the author writes the book in three realms: past, present, and dreams. The dreams help to reveal more about Ishmael’s thoughts as well as the past and the present.
“These days I live in three worlds: my dreams, and the experiences of my new life, which trigger memories from the past.” (20). Here is the first introduction into the structure of this story. Throughout the course of the book, there are moments that trigger memories of Beah’s past, and many of these are the dreams he experiences. The dreams show that even though he may be rehabilitated and free from the war, the memories from his past continue to haunt his existence. Most of the dreams he experiences are nightmares, and many incorporate death of some form into them. Whether he’s being shot in the head or moving dead bodies, death finds a way to haunt Ishmael. Through the dreams we can see into Beah’s head, and notice how he is plagued by what he was forced to do.
We can never truly know the extreme amount of terror that Ishmael must have felt, but through the dreams we can catch a glimpse into the world of a child soldier. The things that he was forced to do would have brought many grown men around the world to their knees, but instead, he kept on going. Beyond pain and suffering, he trudged on. A dream he had after their first experience in combat led to his not sleeping for an entire week. “I had a dream that I was picking up Josiah from the tree stump and a gunman stood on top of me. He placed his gun on my forehead. I immediately woke up from my dream and began shooting inside the tent, until the thirty rounds were finished. The corporal and the lieutenant came in afterward and took me outside. I was sweating, and they threw water on my face and gave me a few more of the white capsules. I stayed up...