A Long Way Gone

A Long Way Gone Summary and Analysis of Chapter 6


Despite the fact that a group of six boys is drawing attention from and instilling fear in the locals, Beah and his companions stay together out of a desperate need to feel safe. The boys decide to avoid the villages so as not to alarm the inhabitants, but as they leave the forested area at one point, they are accosted by a nearby village’s machete-wielding guards. The guards take the boys to the village, where they are accused of being rebels. The entire village seems prepared to execute the boys as rebels when the village chief discovers Beah’s rap tape. When it is played and the chief hears the strange music, he inquires where Beah got it. Beah explains what rap music is and that he and his friends had a dance group in Mattru Jong. At the mention of Mattru Jong, the chief asks if anyone present has spent time in Mattru Jong and can corroborate the boys’ story. A young man steps forward and, calling Beah and his friends by name, saves their lives. Beah notes that he does not recognize the young man.

The villagers then give the boys cassava and smoked fish to eat and offer to let the boys remain with them. The boys are grateful, but choose to move on as they know the rebels will eventually reach this village as well. As they leave, Beah notices that his brother Junior has become unusually quiet.

Beah remembers when Junior taught him to skip a stone on the river. In the process, Beah fell and Junior got him to his feet and asked him if he were fine. As Beah in the present sits on the verandah of an abandoned house, he wishes Junior would again ask him if he were fine.

A group of travelers pass through the abandoned village, among them a woman who knows Gibrilla. She gives Gibrilla news of his aunt’s whereabouts. The boys then head in that direction.

Gibirlla’s aunt lives in Kamator. When the boys arrive, they are offered food and a place to sleep in exchange for acting as the village’s watchmen. The boys accept and guard the village vigilantly for a month, after which time their wariness dims. Without the immediate threat of rebel invasion, the villagers decide that the boys need to work at farming to earn their keep. Beah learns how hard it is to farm as they are barely able to perform a portion of the work that the local villagers can accomplish.

When he sees a little boy who always starts fights in the village, Beah is reminded of his younger self and Junior, who were treated as outsiders in their own community due to their mother’s departure. The adults’ pity so angered Beah that he would sometimes kick their children at school.

A later attack on Kamator separates Beah from Junior; the brothers never see on another again.


Beah makes use of flashback and foreshadowing both in this chapter. He calls upon his memory of Junior’s stone-skipping lesson to illustrate the love and care Junior showed him growing up. The older brother’s protection and concern contrast with the present situation, in which Junior is lost in his own thoughts and unable to console or reassure his little brother.

Then Beah flashes back to his experience at harvest time, when Beah’s grandmother had allowed him to pour wine on the soil to thank their gods for a good harvest. This delicately-performed ceremony contrasts with Beah’s current difficulties in performing the labor of the harvest.

Finally, Beah is reminded of his youth when he takes note of the little boy who always seems to start fights. This is the first time Beah has hinted that he was a troubled child, although the explanation that his mother’s absence made him a “misfit” in his village is no surprise, as the reader already knows that Beah’s parents are divorced and live in different villages.

At the end of the chapter, Beah foreshadows the tragedy of Junior’s separation during a rebel attack on Kamator. He complains that all his (and the villagers’) labor was for nothing, because “in the end, it all went to ruin, because the rebels did eventually come and everyone ran away” (p. 43). He ends the chapter stating “It was the last time I saw Junior, my older brother” (p. 43).