A Long Way Gone Begins with Ishmael Beah

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A Long Way Gone begins with Ishmael Beah, a 12-year-old boy living in the African country of Sierra Leone. Ishmael and some of his friends are traveling to a nearby town, while they are gone, their village is overtaken by rebels that are resisting against the government of Sierra Leone and are brutally attacking anyone they encounter that does not submit to their orders. The rebels use a grotesque manner of initiating the children they have captured. The young boys are forced to kill the weaker ones decided by the rebels. Ishmael’s childhood is destroyed when him and his friend’s families are killed in the attack and are forced to wander to search for the bare essentials important to human life. Unfortunately there’s not much left. The boys have to see heinous displays of violence and avoided death multiple times. Inconceivably enough, the thing that saved them the most was Ishmael’s mixtape. Therefor, music is the common motif throughout the novel. After a long period of time, Ishmael ends up getting displaced from the rest of his group in a rebel attack. It’s a while before he happens to meet another group of friends who he travels with to a nearby village they all hear is safe. As soon as Ismael gets the opportunity, he moves to Manhattan, New York, to start a new life far away from his troubled past.

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Despite not heeding to warnings about German intentions towards Jews, Elie’s family and the other Jews in the small Transylvanian town of Sighet are unable to to escape until it is too late. As a reaction every individual practicing Judaism and having Jewish traits were rounded up and put into concentration camps . Elie is put into Auschwitz which was notorious for its brutality and separated from his mother and sister.

Throughout the novel, Elie and his father are sent from Auschwitz, due to the advancing forces of Allied Powers toward Buchenwald, to a different concentration camp called Buna. Like Auschwitz, this camp carried out its own torture for many Jews. About a few months of the concentration camps throughout Germany are dismantled by allied powers, Eliezer’s father passes away. Although Elie pulls through the ordeal and struggles of the concentration camps, his life is forever scarred by the disturbing, brutal and even erie deaths and violence he witnessed.

The tragedy of Oedipus Rex begins when he instructs his brother-in-law Creon to investigate and discover why a recent plague has struck his city. Creon informs Oedipus that the plague will cease when King Laius’ murderer is held accountable for his crime. Queen Jocasta finds it absurd when she hears from Terisius that Oedipus is the murderer. Once, an oracle informed her that her husband would be killed by their child and she would marry her son. Since she is under the impression that hasn’t come true, she doesn’t believe Tiresias. On the surface it appears that the oracle is merely trying to spread gossip and embarrass the royal family. However, a long time ago, Queen Jocasta had left her baby for dead to ensure the prophecy didn’t come true. Someone discovered Oedipus and took the baby boy in a raised him properly. Years later, Oedipus makes a trek to Thebes and gets involved in a confrontation with a man at an intersection, which out of pure coincidence is King Lais, Oedipus’ father. The first part of the prophecy had come true. Oedipus meets and falls in love with Queen Jocasta, which unknowingly is his own mother. A messenger informs the newlyweds about this bizarre fact and out of shame, the queen hangs herself. With his mothers pins, Oedipus poked his eyes out, causing him to go blind. The motif of Oedipus Rex is about him being “blind to the truth”. This is ironic because it is carried out in a metaphorical manner when he doesn’t realize he has just killed his father and literally when he blinds himself with his own mother’s (and wife’s) hair pins.

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A Long Way Gone Begins With Ishmael Beah. (2021, Mar 17). Retrieved February 5, 2023 , from

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