Study Guide: A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah: Book Summary|
PRINTABLE NOTES: A LONG WAY GONE - ISHMAEL BEAH
When the military troops come to a new village, the lieutenant lines up the civilians and speaks to them about how his troops are there to protect them and for that reason, they should offer their respect for the boys’ service. As for the troops themselves, the corporal tells them, “This gun is your source of power in these times. It will protect you and provide you all you need, if you know how to use it well.” But for the boys, they are always either at the front lines, watching a war movie, or doing drugs. There is no time to be alone or even think about these men say.
The lieutenant’s next move is to teach the young boys to kill as brutally as he had killed the prisoners a few days before. He holds a contest between Kanei, three other boys and Ishmael in which prisoners are brought forward, one for each boy. The object of the game is to slit the throats of the prisoners, looking them in their faces, with the winner being the one whose prisoner dies the quickest. Ishmael’s prisoner shows enormous courage as he stares in Ishmael’s eyes. However, Ishmael doesn’t think much about what he is doing; he just imitates the lieutenant’s motives and is declared the winner. The audience claps as if he has just fulfilled one of life’s greatest achievements. Later, Ishmael returns to his tent, one he shares with no one, and imagines he hears Lansana humming softly to put himself asleep. He listens to this voice in his head and then fires a few rounds from his rifle to drive the humming away.
This chapter is very graphic in explaining the life Ishmael has come to live – a life that is filled with actual
violence, drugs, and violent movies. These boys have seen so many horrors that they have become immune to
any emotions other than anger and a desire to kill those they perceive have been responsible for the deaths of
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on A Long Way Gone".
. 09 May 2017