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In Ishmael Beahs life story, A Long Way Gone, he writes about the events leading up to and becoming a boy soldier.

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A Long Way Gone: Becoming a Boy Soldier In Ishmael Beah?s life story, A Long Way Gone, he writes about the events leading up to and becoming a boy soldier. He writes of his innocence and fear as a child, and how his separation from his family and his search for safety are the reasons he is captured and recruited by the army. Once he joins the army he is brainwashed into wanting vengeance on the rebels, and he becomes a killing machine. The events in Ishmael?s life during the war made him destined to become a boy soldier At the beginning of the story Ishmael is an innocent child who only wants to rap. Before the rebels attack his hometown he leaves to Mattru Jong with his brother Junior and his friends. They have been practicing the dances to songs and memorizing the lyrics to perform at a talent show. ?I loved the dance, and particularly enjoyed learning the lyrics, because they were poetic and it improved my vocabulary.?(6) He shows his innocence and ignorance of the war when he plays a trick on his brother and friends when he takes their clothes from them, ?At one river that had a bridge across it, we heard a passenger vehicle in the distance and decided to get out of the water and see if we could catch a free ride. ...read more.


Together they aim to go to the coastal town of Yele where it is safe. When they finally arrive in Yele they live in peace there until the soldiers who are stationed there tell them that the rebels have surrounded them, and every man or child who does not help fight will be sent into the forest to be killed. Ishmael has been recruited by the army. The army scares the kids into joining by showing the bodies of a man and his son who tried to escape the village but were killed by the rebels, and telling them gruesome stories, ?The lieutenant went on for almost an hour, describing how rebels had cut off the heads of some people?s family members and made them watch, burned entire villages along with their inhabitants, forced sons to have intercourse with their mothers, hacked newly born babies in half because they cried too much, cut open pregnant women?s stomachs, took the babies out, and killed them??(108), and saying that this would happen to them and their families if they did not join. The soldiers would taunt the boys by shooting rounds into the air and scaring them. After they had joined the training and brainwashing came next, ?? [The rebels] have lost everything that makes them human. They do not deserve to live. That is why we must kill every single one of them. ...read more.


He wins the corporals contest for killing the rebel the fastest and ?[he] didn?t feel a thing for him, didn?t think that much about what [he] was doing.?(124) After he was announced the winner he was made junior lieutenant, and they celebrated that night by doing drugs and watching war movies. ?[He] felt no pity for anyone. [His] childhood had gone by without [him] knowing? In [his] head [his] life was normal.?(126) Ishmael?s mind set completely changes into always wanting to kill and be like his newly found hero, Rambo. ?Killing had become a daily activity?(126), and Ishmael no longer cared about what was right and wrong. In his mind all that mattered was that he killed every rebel he could to avenge his family. He had been completely brainwashed by the lieutenant and believed that everything he said and did was right. He had become a killing machine; a boy soldier. Everything Ishmael first heard since the news that his hometown had been attacked leads him to become a boy soldier. In order for him to be recruited he needed to be afraid of everything to do with the war, and he needed safety. The military brainwashed him into believing that they would be safe with them and that killing every rebel would avenge their family and was the honourable thing to do for their country. By becoming this killing machine he lost everything that it is to be a child. Jesse VanderWal ...read more.

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