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A Long Way Gone Essay

“A Long Way Gone”, a memoir about a Sierra Leonean young boy who is a “child of war” has many themes in the novel but what is the most important? Relationship, I believe that this is the most important theme because without relationship, Ishmeal Beah, the author of “A long Way Gone” and a human rights activist would not have survived nor would he have recuperated from the war in Sierra Leone. Relationship with the lieutenant, Ishmeal looked up to his lieutenant as a father figure. Ishmeal would usually look forward to seeing him and spending time with his lieutenant. “I was looking forward to seeing the lieutenant. I hope we might find some time to talk about Shakespeare.” I believe that Ishmeal looked up to the lieutenant as a father because he lost his real father and he would usually ignore Ishmeal. Ishmeal worshiped the lieutenant because he saved his live when Ishmeal was shot through his legs. Ishmeal would have died from the pain but the lieutenant ordered the doctor and two other men to save his live, “do not let the boy die”. Ishmeal believed that the lieutenant cared for him and Ishmeal wanted to survive so that he can fight as hard as he can for the lieutenant.

Ishmeal developed more feelings for his squad as well. Relationship with his gun and the squad, Ishmeal refers to his squad as his family and his gun as his protector. “My squad was my family, my gun was my provider and protector”. Ishmeal had spent so much time with his squad and his gun that he had developed feelings for them. Ishmeal’s rule was to kill or to be killed. “My rule was to kill or to be killed”. When Ishmeal was shot in the leg and recuperated from that, he immediately asked for his gun and cleaned it. He truly did believe that his gun was his protector and provider because he was so intrigued with his gun. Ishmeal had lived with war for so long that his reality was to kill and survive. Ishmeal Beah has also had good relationships during his childhood. The strong bond between Ishmeal and Alhaji, Ishmeal had befriended boy from his squad. Alhaji was mainly with Ishmeal during the time when the two of them where recuperating from the war in the hospital. I think that Ishmeal wanted a deep relationship that can replace his brother and the boy from when he was on the run with the group of six. The two boys would spend most of their time together and the bond they shared was as if they were brothers. When Ishmael was asked to go to the city he immediately asked if Alhaji can come too.

I believe that Ishmeal wanted to experience with Alhaji. This is one of the few good relationships Ishmeal shared with someone in his past. The most important theme in “A Long Way Gone,” was not to be strong or fear. The most important is relationships. Without relationships Ishmeal would not have survived or recuperated the way he did. If Ishmeal did not have any relationships whatsoever, he would have died from the very beginning. Even if he had survived, Ishmeal would probably not want to live when he was shot through the leg because he had nothing to fight for. Without relationship Ishmeal wouldn’t want to recuperate because there was no one there for him like the nurse or Alhaji was. This is why I believe that relationship is the most important theme in “A Long Way Gone”.

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