A Long Way Gone

A long way gone

what ideas does Ishmael beah offer us as a way to understand theses violent conflict and the ways to combat against them? In other words, what ideas does he offer on how to get beyond the violence and learn from it in some way?

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I think hope and family are two themes that help Beah survive. When he is a soldier, however, Beah forfeits a connection to his life. Hope dims in the haze of drugs and violence. Beah gives up any dream of a future beyond simply surviving. However, his father's adage rings true once rehabilitation begins. After speaking at the UN, Beah's hope is rekindled. He meets many children like him and sees that his experiences can have an impact on the world. For once, he realizes that someone will care if he lives or dies. Far away from the civil war, Beah's life has meaning again. In New York, also meets storyteller Laura Simms who offers him a lifeline out of Sierra Leone - which he eventually takes.

The memories and stories of Beah's childhood are interspersed throughout the memoir, typically at times when Beah is most afraid. Within the story, they are a comfort to child Beah, but they also serve a greater, narrative purpose. With Esther, Beah bemoans the fact that as sole survivor, no one else will be able to tell stories of his childhood. His memoir is a way to keep his family alive in some way.