Background And Themes In A Long Way Gone: Memoirs Of A Boy Soldier

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Table of contents

  1. Background
  2. Content Summary and Writer’s Purpose
  3. Evaluation


Before I read this book I knew that is was about a twelve-year-old boy who became a soldier boy with his friends while his village was being attacked. I chose this book because I've always had an interest in children’s experiences during warfare. A child’s life during warfare is more interesting to me because children aren’t as exposed to warfare as adults or teens are.

Content Summary and Writer’s Purpose

One day a boy named Ishmael Beah, his brother, and friends come home from their rap performance to find a civil war. The boys are not able to find their families so they have to commit acts of crime to survive on their own. Ishmael ends up becoming a soldier boy. He and other soldier boys end up getting addicted to illegal substances. Ishmael ends forgetting his life and going into rehab. He goes to New York to tell his story and meet other people like him. After going back to Sierra Leone he realizes the danger he is in and immigrated to the United States. I think this story is meant to bring awareness to children going through the same situation. He describes the trouble he went through during this time in his life. This story shows how disagreement or a civil war can ruin someone’s mental health. He almost becomes a human vegetable because he was forced to involve himself in a war. Being forced to work as a child soldier caused him to be exposed to things such as drugs, which is not healthy for a child his age.

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The most important character in this text is Ishmael Beah because the story revolves around his hectic life. Khalilou is an important character because him and his family protected Ishmael in their home for a short period of time. Esther is an important character because she was the first person to help him realize what had happened. Esther continuously pushed Ishmael’s recovery and she helped him immensely.

Esther starts off by meeting Ishmael as he is injured. She starts off as a very friendly and helpful person. She immediately asks Ishmael to be friends right when she meets him. She starts to regret what she says after Ishmael almost declares that he would be a bad friend. “My name is Esther we should be friends.” “Are you sure you wanna be friends with me?” I asked. She thought for a while and said, “maybe not.” Esther is very loving and selfless, always caring for Ishmael while he was recovering. Esther is also quite blunt, almost agreeing that she should think about being friends with Ishmael.


This book was quite interesting to me because it was real. The book clearly explains and intensifies everything that happened by adding more unique adjectives. This book has some intense topics, such as abusing drugs at an illegal age, but it really brings out the truth of our world. This book puts a great image of the book in your head, clearly describing key points. Every large scale moment in the book was described clearly enough so that I could see in my head what was happening.

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Cite this paper

Background And Themes In A Long Way Gone: Memoirs Of A Boy Soldier. (2021, September 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 23, 2024, from
“Background And Themes In A Long Way Gone: Memoirs Of A Boy Soldier.” Edubirdie, 14 Sept. 2021,
Background And Themes In A Long Way Gone: Memoirs Of A Boy Soldier. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 23 Jul. 2024].
Background And Themes In A Long Way Gone: Memoirs Of A Boy Soldier [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Sept 14 [cited 2024 Jul 23]. Available from:

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