A Long Way Gone Essay

576 WordsDec 3, 20133 Pages
In A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, Ishmael Beah writes about his experiences during the civil war in Sierra Leone. As a child, Ishmael was in a rap and dance group with his brother, Junior, and his two friends, Talloi and Mohamed. Ishmael loved learning the lyrics to songs because he thought they were poetic and improved his vocabulary. After Ishmael, Junior, and Talloi arrived in Mattru Jong for their friend’s talent show, they hear that the rebels attacked their village, Mogbwemo. They return to Mattru Jong, where the rebels capture Junior and some of the other children. Ishmael continues his journey with a different group of boys, in which he eventually finds Yele, a village run by the government. However, they are out numbered by the rebels, thus Ishmael becomes a junior lieutenant, in charge of a group of boy soldiers. As time goes on, Ishmael ends up in the hospital and meets Ester, his nurse. Ester gives him a Walkman and a cassette and Ishmael remembers his childhood. Ishmael tells Ester his experiences and she gets Ishmael the opportunity to speak to the United Nations in New York. For Ishmael, music represents happiness and his childhood memories because it saves his life several times and is used as a way to remember his family. For example, as Ishmael and his friends begin their journey in order to escape the rebels, they are stopped by a bunch of guards from the nearby village. When the chief commanded the guards to search their pockets, one of them finds a rap cassette in Ishmael’s pocket. The chief plays the cassette, but he does not understand what “this foreign music” was so he calls for a boy who lives in that village (38). Ishmael is surprised to find that the boy “knew my name, my brother’s, and those of my friends. He remembered us from performances we had done. None of us knew him, not even by his face, but we warmly smiled as if

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