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Study Guide: A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah: Book Summary

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A LONG WAY GONE: STUDY GUIDE SUMMARY - ISHMAEL BEAH

KEY FACTS

Title:
A Long Way Gone - Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

Author:
Ishmael Beah

Date Published:
2007

Meaning of the Title:
It refers to the actual and emotional distance Ishmael travels from being a lost soul as a boy soldier to a young man who can function and contribute to society.


Setting:
Sierra Leone, 1993-1997 and New York City, 1998

Protagonist:
Ishmael Beah

Antagonist:
Ishmael’s inner self

Mood:
The mood is mostly one of horror and fear throughout as Ishmael makes his way through war. However, it becomes uplifting and hopeful when he is successful in finding peace.

Point of View:
The point of view is first person through the eyes of Ishmael Beal

Tense:
The story is told in the past tense.

Rising Action:
The rising action begins in 1993 when we meet Ishmael and his family in Sierra Leone where rebels have begun a civil war that seems too far away to interfere in his life. It continues with the breakdown of society until Ishmael makes the decision to leave his birthplace and make his way to the United States.

Exposition:
The author tells us his story as a boy soldier in Sierra Leone and how he found a way to escape his war-torn existence and find peace in America.

Climax
The climax occurs when realizes that the only way to survive and find peace will be to leave Sierra Leone.

Outcome:
After a long and harrowing journey, Ishmael finds his way out of Sierra Leone and into Guinea. From there, with the help of Laura Simms, he travels to New York City, finishes high school, and graduates from College. He becomes an advocate at the UN and other international organizations for dealing with the solution to children forced to become soldiers.

Major Themes:
War is Hell; There is always Hope; and When everything else disappears, there is always Love.




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