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 27, 2015
Without storytelling, A Long Way Gone would not exist, both literally and metaphorically. Storytelling is the one constant of Beah’s story, only interrupted by his period of violence within the army fighting for the government. In the beginning of the book, we learn that Beah was always interested in an unexpected kind of storytelling: rap. Rap becomes a symbol of Beah’s innocence (saving him twice during his period of avoiding rebel forces) and gives us the first taste of the influence of storytelling has on his life.
Storytellers in Beah’s life represent the three parts of time: the past, present, and future. Family members like his grandmother (Mamie Kpana) and his uncle Terry give us the insight on Beah’s background and past life. Beah’s grandmother tells Beah stories of lessons, like that of the boar hunter and another one of the moon, in hopes to make sure Beah grows up to do what is right. Her story of his name-giving ceremony not only gives us background of his life, but also explains his love of stories even at a young age. Uncle Tony also provides Beah with stories about Beah’s father and himself, taking the storytelling of the past a step further and essentially using the laughter of the story to aid Beah’s rehabilitation process.
Through Musa’s storytelling, readers get a sense of the need for storytelling in the present. His story of Bra Spider served as an escape for Beah and his friends in their desperate run from the rebels. It presents storytelling as a safe haven.
Finally, Laura, Beah’s future mother, represents storytelling in the future and aids Beah to tell his experience of teh war for his rehabilitation. Through storytelling, Beah discloses his story to bring the truth into the light and offer him the redemption for the acts that he committed he seeks. Through storytelling, Beah hopes to redeem himself by affecting our own views of our past, present, and future.
Note: I am actually quite proud of this specific QW.