30 April 2012
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, by Ishmael Beah, gives a firsthand experience of the civil war in Sierra Leone and the hardships of becoming one of the child soldiers. From the age of 12, Beah was forever separated from his family because he was forced to run away from the attacking rebels. Until one day, he was forced to join an army unit where they brainwashed him into believing in only large guns, drugs, and blood. At the age of 16, however, he was removed from the unit by the UNICEF and was given a second chance at living a normal life and being able to be loved again. Throughout the novel, Beah attempts to entertain the audience by creating an emotional relationship between his experiences of being a boy soldier and the audience’s heart. This approach allows Beah to successfully emotionally entertain his audience by using certain topics, structures, voice, and evidence.
Beah first captures his audience by introducing the main ideas of each chapter of the book. For example, he uses very short phrases such as: “THE ATTACK HAPPENED” (44) and “THE VILLAGES WE CAPTURED” (126). These short phrases tell a lot about what is going to happen. If the audience were to guess what happened in these two chapters, it would be that the war has been initiated and hidden places were found to keep shelter. This can bring an emotional tie to the audience because depending on certain situations, these short phrases can bring up sensitive topics that people wouldn’t talk about on a daily bases unless it is brought up. Another example, is in the beginning of the novel, Beah directly tells his audience that “at times [he] thought that some of the stories that the passersby were told were exaggerated. The only wars [he] only knew of were those that [he] read about or [has] seen in movies such as Rambo: First Blood, and the one in neighboring Liberia that [he] had heard about on the BBC news” (5-6)....