Symbolism and Internal Conflict in A Long Way Gone

Topics: A Long Way Gone

Escaping Self Confliction

The integration of humanity and life are complicated combinations that only raise inquiries that cannot be answered. The corrupted surroundings and human interactions influence and mold an individual. Once one is over-exposed and forced to conform one’s surroundings, one would slowly loloseneself. To regain a sense of self, one cherishes simplicity to have a degree of oneself. Through internal conflict and symbolism, Ishmael Beah shows in his memoir, A Long Way Gone, that the corruption of the environment influences and deprives self-identity but to retain it, one cherishes simplicity.

Beah uses internal conflict to express how the corruption of the environment morphs the youth into corrupted individuals. When Ishmael Beah was forced to be a chilsoldierer, he was dehumanized by the duties of the corporals. The corporals forced the children to imagine imamate objects as the enemies who killed their families and loved ones. Everything the children witnessed was the rival. False perceptions engulfed Ishmael’s mind on revenge and violence.

Ishmael slowly loses himself by having graphic visions. Ishmael states that “There had been no time to think all day, but now I could. I could become angry, yes, being to visualize scenarios of shooting and stabbing a rebel… I imagined capturing several rebels at once, locking them inside a house, sprinkling gasoline on it, and tossing a match. We watch it burn and I laugh” (113). He was transforming into a callous and immortal individual because of military conformity.

Ishmael losing a sense of his identity strengthens to larger degrees during his military service.

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The corporals forced Ishmael to consume drugs and alcohol to enhance his prowess in the service. Ishmael becomes even more dehumanized when he participated in a killing exhibition.

He had to brutally kill the prisoner as fast as he can. Ishmael slashed the prisoner’s throat in a zig-zag motion and he felt gratification because he won the exhibition. The experiences of the war and the corrupted environment morphed Ishmael into his dimensions of gore and the immortality of adulthood. When he was forced to leave the army, he was angry because he became addicted to inflicting violence. He was like a lost stray who wanted to go back to his habitat.

Beah uses internal conflict to show how the corruption of the environment deprives self-identity. Ishmael Beah uses symbolism to show how one can regain a sense of self by embracing simplicity. When Ishmael was removed from the war in ordetoehabilitation, he still struggled to go back to himself. However, once he bonded with Esther, a nurse in the rehabilitation center, he began to regain himself. Esther provided Ishmael Bob Marley cassettes and Coca-Cola as ways for him to enjoy himself. Beah cherished these simple items because it renovates his innocence. He remembered his grandmother’s belief in the significance of the moon, which shows a sense of self revival because he could finally remember his childhood before the war. Beah recalls that “In the sky there, are always answers and explanations for everything: every pain, every suffering, joy, and confusion. That night I wanted the sky to talk to me” (166). The moon holds a symbolic value because it shows that one must embrace the simple things in life and it helps to escape from complexity and ambiguity. The symbolism of the simplistic items continues to the inory. When Ishmael’s uncle picked him up from the center, Ishmael was welcomed by the hospitality of his new family. His aunt made him cassava leaves with chicken. Chicken is considered an honor in his community because it is only celebrated on special occasions. Furthermore, Ishmael felt rejoiced by the inory cassettes which brought him back to his positive memories. Story storytelling huge role in Ishmael’s life because it was a way for him to learn humanity about y and himself. With the simplicity that Ishmael holds, he can regain a sense of himself. Human interactions and the environment are huge factors of influence. When one conformed to chaos and corruption, one would lose a sense of oneself. Even though the human mind can be complex with sudden changes for oneself, one can regain one’s true nature by cherishing simplistic items. The simplest things in life are the most valuable. In the memoir A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah, Beah shows that simplicity decomposes the complexity of humanity and life itself. The chaotic environment plays a huge role in manipulation and conformity that deprives people’s identity and perceptional thinking. The actions of cherishing the simple things help escape some complications for one to retain self-identity.

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Symbolism and Internal Conflict in A Long Way Gone. (2022, Aug 10). Retrieved from

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