Stages of Ishmael Beah’s Transformation in “A Long Way Gone” example

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Stages of Ishmael Beah’s Transformation in “A Long Way Gone”

In the book “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier” Ishmael Beah describes the true story of his life, the life of a boy who unwillingly becomes a soldier during the civil war in Sierra Leone, goes through all the circles of this hell, and survives it. The story uncovers devastating influence of war in all its manifestations on people’s life. Beah at the beginning of the story and Beah at the very end are two completely different people. During his “long way” journey he gradually changes and becomes another person. One can track various stages in the development of Beah’s character and personality, starting with his early peaceful childhood and going through such relevant periods of his life as being in a run while trying to escape the war and survive, then his recruitment and immediate participation in the war on the side of Sierra Leone Armed Services as a child soldier, his physical and psychological recovering at the hospital at Benin House, and eventually his settling in New York. This is an autobiographical story of Ishmael Beah’s personal transformation and survival. The facts about the war and all the horrors it brings are written from the author’s personal experience and not from someone else’s words.Ishmael’ early childhood seems to him the best part of his life. It is filled with love and light-heartedness. He has a caring family, he is a kind and smart child and his story begins with his departure together with his younger brother and a friend of theirs to another village in order to perform in a talent show, like other children do under normal circumstances.

In his hard times he often returns in his mind to these sacred memories of happy childhood, the childhood that have been stolen from him and from thousands of other kids, to the house of his parents he is never going to see again in his life, to the house of his grandmother who used to give him friendly and useful pieces of advice. He does not suspect yet that everything is about to change, including himself. However, the sudden Revolutionary United Front (RUF) attack becomes a breaking point in the main character’s life, as well as in life of other children and adults. On the one hand, one can see how this unwilling involvement in war “serves as a rite of passage to maturity” and “accelerates the transition from childhood to adulthood” (Kyulanova, 2010, p. 28). But, on the other hand, there are clear evidence of traumatic effects and disastrous consequences of military intervention that lead to appearance of a “lost generation” (Aldhous, 2008, p. 6).

The moment Ishmael realizes that something horrible has happened and there is no way back home becomes crucial in his life. He watches the scenes he never thought he would. Everything has turned upside down. There are crops of dead people and parts …

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