Theme Of Violence In A Long Way Gone

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The Sierra Leonean Civil War from 1991 to 2001 affected every citizen of Sierra Leone, including children. Ishmael Beah is a man who was caught in the war as a child, and forced to both witness and commit acts of violence as a child soldier, as expressed in his memoir. The role of violence in the memoir A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah is to portray the theme of loss of innocence through the comparisons and contrasts of violent acts while Ishmael was running from the rebels, during his time as a child soldier, and after his experience in the Sierra Leonean army.

The role of violence is first shown through the comparison of Ishmael as he is running from the rebels to the families who are trying to escape the war and stopping in the mining area
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Ishmael’s reaction to violence as he is running from the rebels is presented by his reaction to the survivors of the attack on the mining area as Ishmael is leaving Mattru Jong. As a man falls out of his jeep sobbing and vomiting blood, Ishmael states that he “felt a sting in his heart”, and when Ishmael sees the man’s bloodied family, dead, fall out of the jeep, Ishmael “wanted to move away from what [he] was seeing, but couldn’t. [His] feet went numb and [his] entire body froze” (13). The previously mentioned reaction contrasts with Ishmael’s reaction to violence as he is a child …show more content…
During his training as a child soldier, Ishmael was taught to crouch when running, to shoot, to stab the banana trees as if he were stabbing his enemy, the rebels. The quotation that describes Ishmael’s training, “we fell into the bushes and crawled quickly, without producing much sound, until we reached a designated tree… the corporal didn’t say much during the initial stage of training… he would point to a clearing, where ‘words could cost you a bullet in the head’” (111), also describes how Ishmael navigated the war after his rehabilitation. The quotation, “an armed man in a red headband shot her in the head. She screamed and fell. loudly hitting the stony ground… We grabbed our goods and ran crouching. This was beginning to be too familiar” (204), shows the similarity between Ishmael’s training, crouching and running, and after his rehabilitation, when he had to use his training as a civilian. Ishmael uses the phrase “this was beginning to be too familiar” multiple times after his rehabilitation, referencing his experience from before his rehabilitation, and comparing it to his current situation. The previously mentioned quotation is also stated when Ishmael is around people who had not experienced the war before. Ishmael is pained to watch them display fear, which shows his reaction to the

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