12 Angry Men

Summarize how Ishmael gets out of Freetown.

A Long Way Gone - Chapter 18 - 21

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After Uncle Tommy becomes sick and dies of a fever, Beah knows he must leave Sierra Leone forever. They bury his uncle the next morning while Beah’s cousins ask who will take care of them now. A few days later, Beah is able to make a collect call to Larua Simms. He asks her if he can stay with her; she replies that he can, so Beah begins his dangerous trek to escape Sierra Leone.

A long, arduous journey ensues, during which Beah is forced to spend most of his saved money for bribes at checkpoints; he his sickened to see even civilian Sierra Leoneans take advantage of each other in this way. Immigration officers require the refugees pay money to cross the border out of sierra Leone into Guinea. Beah is able to make it across the border to Guinea, but there he encounters another difficulty: the national language of Guinea is French, which Beah does not speak. He manages to find someone who speaks Krio, and the two of them find a bus to get them closer to the Sierra Leonean embassy in Guinea, which has been opened as a temporary encampment for refugees. That night Beah listens to stories told by others and remembers one his grandfather told long ago:

A hunter goes into the bush to kill a monkey. Knowing he is a target, the monkey tells the hunter, “If you shoot me, your mother will die, and if you don’t, your father will die.” The hunter is left in this dilemma for the audience to discuss and attempt an answer. None of the children’s answers are considered good enough by the storyteller, but Beah comes up with his own answer and rationale: “if I were the hunter, I would shoot the monkey so that it would no longer have the chance to put other hunters in the same predicament.” With this statement, Beah ends his memoir.

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