A Long Way Gone

what did ishmaels father wish for ata ceremory to bless his house? how does this wish fall apart


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Beah reflects on a time earlier in his life, when his father blessed the family’s new home in Mogbwemo. His blessing included a prayer that the family would always stay together; to this prayer a village elder added that they would always be together, because even the dead lived on in the spirit realm. At this memory, Beah begins to weep for his lost family and friends.

Again Beah uses a flashback to bring poignancy to narrative. At the moment he loses his last connection to his immediate family - his older brother Junior - Beah remembers his father’s earlier dedication and blessing of their family home in Mogbwemo. Beah has already informed the reader that his father and mother are divorced, splitting Beah’s life between their two homes (Mogbwemo and Mattru Jong); now the rebels have taken his father, his extended family, and his brother in succession, leaving him alone in the world. There is bitter irony in his father’s prayer that the family “will always be together” (p. 47) and cold comfort in the village elder’s prayer that they remain together “even in the spirit world” (p. 47).