A Long Way Gone

chpt 14; describe the content Beah wins in order to be promoted to junior lieutenant. try to describe the things that are motivating Beah at this point

Chpt 14

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This short chapter offers much in the way of understanding Beah’s life as a boy soldier. He concentrates a few years of violent military action into a few scenes, focusing here on the early rites of passage in his military career. The addiction to drugs, like so much else in the memoir, is offered as a matter-of-fact statement upon which the reader can render his/her own judgement; Beah only makes it clear that the addiction to the drugs is part of what helped the soldiers continue moving forward in their nightmare existence.

The incident of the killing contest works as a perverse coming of age moment for Beah. He takes a step from childhood into adulthood by murdering a defenseless man; he is only able to reconcile this with his conscience by first conjuring up the image of his murdered family and attributing their deaths to the rebel in front of him. The power of memory thus utilized is clear: by turning pain into hatred, Beah is able to kill the prisoner as smoothly as he might kill an animal, but the strength behind his blade is his anger and pain over the loss of his childhood.