A Long Way Gone Essay: Fiction or Reality?


The novel of young Ishmael Beah terrifies readers for 10 years. Why?

Living in this world full of wars, people don’t really know what it seems till they see in real the reality of opposition. Every human being indwelling in his peaceful land doesn’t even understand this nightmare. That’s why the ex-enlisted Ishmael Beah decided to display the real situation. The writing entitled A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier shocked audience. He gave the real description of armed opposition. So here’s A Long Way Gone essay made impressed by this incredible work. Visit our essay writing service and find more interesting essays.

The fearless man came into the world in 1980. The Sierra Leonean Civil War began and the little boy had to leave his relatives in 1991. He was compelled to use a gun at 13. Try to imagine? The 13-years-old child had to turn to a murderer. Just repeat it once more… At that age all my duties were studying at school and playing piano. No one tried to enforce me. But this little man had another faith. For almost 3 years he had to fight with rebels. Only then the UNICEF mission rescued him.

This period he describes in his novel. The narrator’s language has a cold, quiet intonation during every page of story no matter what. And it impresses even more, because we can hear not a young man Ishmael, but an old man who saw everything about the world. Nothing can surprise him anymore. The author was only 26 in 2007, when A Long Way Gone was first edited! The way of narration looks like Erich Maria Remarque, but not a teenager. He decided to present his life to the audience, no matter how ugly it is.

Two brothers escaped to the another village. Their mother stayed home, their father disappeared with a new wife, but that was ok. Everybody has reasons, right? The rebels had their reasons too, maybe. Nevermind, they burned the village Ishmael lived in and decided to slay everybody. What should two boys do? Run, surely. And they ran to nowhere.

What’s the first thing children need? Food, right? And they started to steal it. For some period it worked. But everything ends. And these two boys found the regular army’s post. In other story, in other situation they might be lucky and found by UNICEF, taken to the safe place and adopted. But it’s life and not everybody wins lottery. So Ishmael wasn’t lucky. They forced him to be a murderer. He writes: ‘I can’t count the number of people I’ve killed’.

In my Long Way Gone essay I want to add one quote that impressed me more than everything before: ‘When I was very little, my father used to say, ‘If you are alive, there is hope for a better day and something good to happen. If there is nothing good left in the destiny of a person, he or she will die.’ For more, check our essay writing services.

I guess with this phrase Ishmael turned the world upside down. I can hardly imagine anybody to live the regular life with this knowledge. But it’s up to everybody’s mind to accept this terrible reality or not.

So what did he really have? Nothing but will to survive and drug addict. At his age, when every child studies, falls in love first time in life, argues with parents, and makes friends, this kid had only gun in his small hands and fury in his eyes. Just imagine this child watching with bloodshot eyes ready to kill? Having his finger on the trigger he won’t feel sorrow? Frankly speaking, I don’t even want to imagine such childhood.

In three years Ishmael was taken from hell by UNICEF. He was transferred to rehabilitating center suffering with drug addict, terrifying headache, and endless nightmares. He’d got real problems with trust to everyone except one woman, Ester. Ishmael was elected as a delegate to the First International Children's Parliament at the UN. This is how Ishmael landed to the USA. He took part in conference in the New York City and met Laura Simms. She supported Ishmael and leaded this scared boy to better life. But again something went wrong.

Ishmael returned to Freetown (the capital of his native land) and entered the school. But how could classmates accept the ex-soldier? They were afraid of him absolutely. Soon, the 25th of May, 1997, Freetown turned to hell again. Shooting, death and war returned to Ishmael’s life. He ran from fighting and it found him again. Young teenager was terrified not with war, but with knowledge he should kill again. After some time and his uncle’s death, he ran away. He asked Laura Simms to make it real. Ishmael left his motherland never to return again.

Here I present a short list of Ishmael Beah’s biographical facts:

  1. 23 November 1980 – Ishmael came into the world in Mogbwemo, Sierra Leone.
  2. 23 March 1991 – the armed confrontation started.
  3. 1992 – Ishmael joined the government militia.
  4. 1996 – He escaped from Sierra Leone with the UNICEF mission.
  5. 1997 – Ishmael returned to Freetown, but the war turned back again.
  6. 1998 – He arrived at New York.
  7. 2007 – His novel A long Way Gone was first edited.
  8. 2007 – A Long Way Gone was nominated for its first award.

A Long Way Gone essays has different opinion about Ishmael’s personality. Some describes him as a monster, another as a victim. I can’t judge this man about things he had to do. He slayed human beings; he went through the hell and was just lucky to survive. Even his leaving home can be explained. We have no idea how we would act in situation like this, right? Nobody knows and I pray nobody will need to choose anymore.

‘The violence causes the silence’ sings Cranberries. But young man changed the attitude to weapon conflicts with his truthful and terrible life story. He showed the whole world what war makes with children. Every one of us has to understand nothing in this life: religion, politics, racial differences, is not worthy children’s lives.

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