A Long Way Gone QW 1: Purpose

Note: Click here for more information on Quick Writes, the works I respond to, and disclaimers. Mistakes were kept unchanged. Also, spoilers ahead.

Date QW Written: January 26, 2015

Prompt: (TBA)


In A Long Way Gone, Beah instantly attacks us with unexpected depictions of disturbing only because we are not acquanted with this side of war. Like the curious students in the prologue, we’ve only known violence through what our media has portrayed, resulting with our belief that war can be “cool.” Therefore, through Beah’s uncensored retelling of the violent reality of war, we are suprised, which is exactly what Beah wants in doing this. 

One of Beah’s goal in his memoir is to reveal the true effects of war. With gritty and raw descriptions, Beah is able to make us cringe. However, enlightening the world on the subject of war in Africa is not Beah’s only goal. 

Essentially, A Long Way Gone is Beah’s beacon of redemption. He refuses to soften the blow of violence’s imagery because he wants our judgement of him and of the atrocities he has committed. Beah still feels the guilt of being a survivor and a child soldier. By giving us his honesty, he is in a way asking for our forgiveness or some form of understanding that will aid his sense of compensation. 

To understand the violence and learn from it, Beah offers what most wouldn’t: the truth. Beah understands that acceptance of the truth is the most effective way of overcoming it, like he had when he accepted his loss of childhood to look towards a new life. Beah wants us to realize this relevance of the violence and his actions through acceptance but also wants us to, for his sake, accept that it is indeed a long way gone. 

Score: 19



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