A Long Way Gone

a long way gone

whom does beah consider to be important to him on his jourrnys through sierra leone and in new york? what makes these people important to beah? who affests beah? in what ways? who are the people whom he cannot ever forget?why?

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New York

In Chapter 20, Beah travels to New York to speak at the UN. He finds the city is different than he expected, as he had envisioned people racing down the street in sports cars. Beah sees a world outside of violence and war - a world that is very different from Sierra Leone. He learns the word "snow" and repeatedly visits the dreamlike Times Square. Beah also finds that his story is sadly not unique. At the UN, he talks with many children who had similar experiences in their own countries. Beah realizes that he is not alone. Laura Simms, a storyteller who helps the children with their presentations, forges a deep connection with Beah; he eventually flees the war to live with her in New York. Other than laying the groundwork for a future home and life in the United States, the trip to New York gives Beah hope. At the end of the chapter, he is sad to leave, but also knows that if he dies in Sierra Leone, people will care. After years of witnessing and causing meaningless death, Beah comes to understand the value of his own life.

In Sierra Leone, each pack of boys Beah ends up with during his travels becomes an ad hoc family; family becomes situational rather than genetic. But each boy realizes that something irreplaceable has been lost. When Saidu dies, Kanei must represent his family at the funeral. The villager who accompanies them say that they will always know where their friend is buried and can return; but each boy knows they will never return. Later, Beah's squad becomes his family. Even at Benin Home, the ex-RUF boys clash with the rescued army boys. Likely orphaned, each boy desperately clings to one another. Family is something to fight for.

At Benin Home, Esther offers to be Beah's sister but he can only grant her familial status on a temporary basis. He has been jaded by war, but he still seeks connection. Beah eventually finds a home with Uncle Tommy - who, like Beah during the war, takes care of children other than his own despite not being blood - but he is wary of opening up about his wartime experiences. Beah does not want to alienate his cousins. Beah has learned that family is precious but can be fleeting.